One of my favorite ways to describe giving, and the importance of relationships over transactions, is found in the Donor Bill of Rights.
The very first sentence is “PHILANTHROPY is based on voluntary action for the common good.”
A “voluntary action” is neither compulsory nor required. Being philanthropic — making a gift — is an elective act of generosity.
When nonprofits struggle with fundraising efforts it’s often because they mistakenly feel entitled to a gift or grant. They expect that level of support to not only continue, but to grow.
Organizations must always remember that a donor gives because, 1) they were asked, and 2) they believe. It’s not enough just to ask. It’s the connection of vision and values, passion and purpose, that makes the difference.
“For the common good” also implies that philanthropy is an effort larger than one organization.
Fighting hunger, ending homelessness, curing disease, cultivating culture, protecting animals, and many others, are causes that transcend, yet organizations often communicate their message in isolation. “Our organization is the best at (fill in the blank),” when it should be, “Together, with our partners and supporters like you, we have impact on (fill in the blank).”
As a nonprofit leader, how will you build relationships with your donors to ensure they feel connected in a meaningful way to your mission, but also to the cause? This is the perfect time of year to read the Donor Bill of Rights, share it with board members, and reflect on what matters most.
As a donor, what compels your voluntary action to give?
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO