Fundraising vs. Philanthropy
Fundraising is “an activity undertaken with the goal of eliciting a financial contribution.” It is a tactical strategy requiring specific actions and defining measurable outcomes in quantifiable terms. It’s an ask.
Philanthropy, on the other hand, sets out to make the case for understanding your mission and the purpose behind your work, to inspire support by nurturing the donors who love you.
The work you do, your mission achievement, ultimately is the solution for the donor’s needs. It’s what fixes the pain points of the community your donor values.
Because in the end, donors only care about two things: VALUE and WORTH. How much do they Value what you are achieving, and how Worthy are you of their investment- do you manage your finances well, or are you always broke, scraping for the next dollar? Are you trustworthy? Do you accomplish what they invested in you to do? Answering these questions successfully and being donor-centric – caring about your donor values and how worthy they find you – is what a philanthropic culture is all about.
Having a very strong philanthropic culture, where the essence of what you do is focusing and nurturing your donor community, is essential to having a solid fundraising program. You can’t have one without the other. You certainly can’t begin to grow your donor base unless they feel as though they are part of this donor community for your organization. And without a donor base, you have no fundraising.
We can help you build a strong, reliable, and productive fundraising program by defining your donor community and building programs that create a strong philanthropic culture.
The fundraising program tailored for your organization will focus on contributions coming from four groups. After an assessment of your past giving history and your donor capacity, we will work to create a plan that grows to balance the ratio of funds and income in each as indicated in the list below (restrictions may apply to government and corporate funding percentages):
- Individuals: 60%
- Foundations: 10%
- Corporations: 20%
- Government: 10%
Why is this important? Because sustainability only comes from a strong individual donor community. It’s the single source of philanthropic revenue over which you have the most control. Government funding is fleeting, based on budgetary restrictions and political agendas. Foundations have to answer to a board of trustees, who have their own needs and agendas year to year. Additionally, grants from government and foundations are rarely repetitive, mostly given for one to three years, then your resource is done. And corporations are becoming more focused on long-term alignment in social responsibility with two or three organizations that help them build their social value, improve employee recruitment and retention, and expand market reach. All of these relationships have an expiration date.
But time and resources invested into building a relationship with an individual who has the means to support your work and the interest in what you are doing, who finds themselves a valued member of your donor community, and who can see and feel the influence of their investment – they will stick with you for life.
We work to have such a sticky impact-lasting change that improves funding relationships now and over the long term. Let us help you improve too.
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Background: Strategic Planning for The US Coast Guard Academy, established in New London, CT in 1932. The USCGA provides instruction and advising to over 1,700 cadets