The Center for Association Resources


Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Culture of Philanthropy – the secret sauce of fundraising-the five steps to success

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Culture of Philanthropy – the secret sauce of fundraising-the five steps to success-


According to The Center for Association Ressources, not-for-profit organizations are increasingly turning to philanthropy to increase revenue and expand programs for members. Before embarking on any fundraising project, ask yourself if your association has these five ingredients that are core to a culture of philanthropy. In a nutshell, a culture of philanthropy is about the donor and how to align his or her philanthropic goals with the organization’s mission.

Building a culture of philanthropy is not about feeling good; it’s also a savvy business decision.  Not-for-profit organizations that understand the power of philanthropy ultimately have stronger relationships with their donors who give more to support the mission.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. Donors are the focus of any fundraising effort and not the organization.  Are you helping them reach their own philanthropic goals?  Are you really listening to how they would like to support the organization?   By spending time to discern a donor’s own personal goals, you will deepen that donor’s relationship with your organization and ultimately increase the amount of giving.

  2. Fundraising is not about the money – it’s about the relationships that are created through fundraising.   While the money is obviously important, don’t let it guide the conversation.  It can lead to short-term thinking that short changes both the donor and the organization.   You will know it’s not about the relationship if the conversation is only about the next gift rather than the totality of that donor’s involvement.

  3. Building on that point, gifts are not considered one-off events but a stream of ever deepening involvement by the donor. Savvy organizations look at the donor’s lifetime arc of giving and how to build that relationship and investment. 

  1. Board and staff leaders are generously supporting the organization through their own giving.  Each year, they make sacrificial gifts in support of your mission.   The amount will vary, but the organization is clearly a priority in their giving.

  2. Internal and external messages and conversations are about the ultimate impact of the mission and not the immediate financial justification.   The fundraising is simply a tool to realizing that mission and not an end in itself.  

Contact The Center for Association Resources for more information on your organization’s potential for success in this growing area.

Robert O. Patterson, CEO, The Center for Association Resources

Mark D. Warner, Director of Development, The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Chicago, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , ,

August 2012

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