Changing Titles From “Development” to “Philanthropy” is More Than Symbolic

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Capital Development Services has had the privilege of working with the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy several times in recent years. This is an organization that recognizes and acts daily on the difference between “fundraising” and “philanthropy.” In fact, they know this so well, they even changed the titles of their Major Gift Officer (MGO) positions years ago to Director of Philanthropy.

Other than printing new business cards, what does a change like this mean to an organization and it supporters? The cultural shift that accompanies the transition in titles makes it more than a symbolic movement.

Organizations who have yet to realize a true “culture of philanthropy” look like this:

  • Fundraising is crisis driven/reactive
  • Fundraising is a cost; not an investment
  • Fundraising is done only by few
  • Special events and direct mail are emphasized
  • Donors are kept at arms-length
  • If major gifts occur, they are usually unsolicited

Whereas organizations who have built a “culture of philanthropy” possess these traits:

  • All understand the need to raise money
  • Everyone is an ambassador
  • Donor-centric not me-centric
  • Visitors are welcomed
  • E.D. sees him/herself as face of the agency and is 100% committed to fundraising
  • All make a gift

Where does your favorite nonprofit fit? What does it take to get to where you’d like to be on these lists?

We at CapDev always look forward to opportunities to return to work with organizations like The Nature Conservancy who have seen the difference it makes to shift to this culture of philanthropy. Everyone wants to be a part of an environment where people love what they are doing for the good of the work – they are mission-driven; where supporters give generously out of genuine interest and compassion – they share in an understanding of the need; and where we all get to share in the joy of generosity.

People can be scared of “fundraising;” people want to be a part of “philanthropy.”

Click here to see more ways to share this topic with your nonprofit.

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