Here are some reminders for fostering a great philanthropic culture:
1. Ensure every employee/board member is educated on the role that the donor plays.
This means everyone! Make sure the frontline employees and the maintenance staff, not just the CEO, understand the vital role the donor plays in your organization.
2. All staff meetings should include discussions about donors.
All too often, staff meetings solely consist of task delegation and metrics. It’s important to share and discuss donor stories at staff meetings so everyone understands the importance of donors and how their experience can be improved.
3. Program and development staff need to work together.
The development and program departments must collaborate and meet often, communicating freely with one another in order to improve the donor experience.
4. Development staff must understand how the program department operates.
This means development staff need to make an effort to actively experience the role of the programming staff so they can better understand those who do the work for which they are raising money.
5. The CEO must dedicate a significant amount of time to cultivating donors.
As a leader, this commitment shows that you are embracing fundraising and are willing to boldly share your vision with donors. It is critical that leadership embraces this concept or the organization will fail to raise funds.
6. All board members must work with program and development staff.
By enforcing this collaboration, this allows each board member to truly understand the inner workings of the organization and the importance of each component. This will help them understand the level of work required to be a successful organization.
7. Create opportunities for staff, board members and donors to engage with one another.
By providing this opportunity, you will initiate understanding and trust within the involved parties. A lack of trust is a common topic when discussing the barriers to having a meaningful relationship between program and development staff.
8. Development staff must communicate to the organization about their donor engagement.
The development staff needs to consistently update the entire organization on how they are building a positive donor relationship. Without this communication, it can lead to confusion and miscommunication. Everyone in your organization should learn about the development operations and what those mean to donors.