New E-Book: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy for Nonprofits | Beth’s Blog

New E-Book: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy for Nonprofits

Philanthropy

It’s not secret to nonprofits that fundraising is critical to the success of your mission. But, does your entire organization treat it this way?  Is  culture of philanthropy embedded in the way that everyone does their work?  I’m thrilled to contribute a chapter in Blackbaud’s newest npEXPERTS eBook, that includes 10 chapters of ideas on how create a culture of philanthropy—one in which executives, board members, accountants, marketers, and everyone in between understand the importance of your organization’s fundraising success and how they can contribute to it within their unique roles.

What is a culture of philanthropy? It is all about how to nurture a nonprofit organizational culture that has shared responsibility for fundraising among all of its people. In the nonprofit sector, there is growing understanding about the importance of creating a culture of philanthropy to power effective fundraising. In a report last year for the Haas, Jr. Fund, author and consultant Cynthia Gibson set out to capture some of the core elements of such a culture, including key indicators that might suggest what it looks like when you have one.

The E-Book offers 10 thought pieces on this idea – from leadership to everyone in the organization.   My contribution is “Creating a Culture of Philanthropy While Doing the Work,” and focuses on ways to encourage effective cross-departmental collaboration. The piece provides some practical recipes that can help build collaboration muscles while getting stuff done.

The chapter is based on the notion that today’s nonprofit marketers must be experts in learning how to shift their organizational culture towards a culture of philanthropy by becoming skilled collaborators, adept at bringing diverse perspectives together, and confident in their abilities to collaboratively steward supporters at every touch point along the ladder of engagement with other teams, departments, and senior leadership. This gets to the heart of the best practices that are needed to create a culture of philanthropy within a nonprofit organization.

But the reality is that in many nonprofit organizations, different teams and departments do not have a shared mental model for a culture of philanthropy. Even worse, they don’t appear to be speaking the language and may work as isolated islands instead of finding ways to build bridges together to cultivate and engage supporters and do it with common values, culture, vocabulary, and practices.

What happens as a result is that it makes it impossible to build sustainable relationships with donors over the long haul. Supporters have a disjointed experience with an organization they care about because of organizational silos. It also creates a problem internally where turf wars and a non collaborative environment lead to frustration, burnout, and staff turnover. Shifting the organization’s culture is a process, and it takes time. It also takes paying attention to organizational culture or the way works gets done, in addition to deadlines and deliverables. Nonprofit marketing teams want opportunities to improve their cross-departmental collaboration skills and competencies, but it also takes a new organizational mindset to nurture their development. Effective collaboration happens when teams create the time and space for learning across an organization and when it becomes ingrained into an organization’s DNA.

The chapter includes some techniques and recipe processes that your team can use to help your organization practice cross departmental collaboration and learn how to begin to work towards building a culture of philanthropy throughout your organization. These are based on my work on the Emerging Leaders Playbook, launched last month.

You can download your FREE copy of the #NPExperts e-book here.

3 Responses

  1. I agree Beth, you can’t work at an optimal level without collaboration, mutual respect, and a positive culture. It seems like there is a real theme around this lately. I recently read an article by Ian MacQuillin: http://blogs.plymouth.ac.uk/criticalfundraising/2016/06/17/opinion-refashioning-relationship-fundraising-its-about-more-than-just-donors/ –which had some of the same themes. It seems like common sense, but finding a culture of philanthropy is pretty rare in non-profits. Hopefully, they take your valuable advice!

  2. Beth says:

    Jeremy,

    Thanks so much for the pointer to the article, will definitely check it out. Do work with a nonprofit?

  3. Hi Beth,

    Of Course! I have done consulting for some local non-profits. I also work at Aplos– a donor management and accounting software for non-profits. You should take a look at us!

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