September 28, 2015

Do You Know the Difference Between Philanthropy, Development & Fundraising?

We use the words philanthropy, development, and fundraising interchangeably. Yet each has a very distinct meaning. Does it matter? Very much. Sloppy language decreases our ability to gain donated income and achieve our missions.
Words matter. Despite the childhood lie that only sticks and stone can hurt you, words can too. More importantly, the right words will help you tremendously.

Here’s a diagram. Post it on your bulletin board and use it to streamline conversations about how your nonprofit can grow donated income. Share it with your board and supporters to help them create more effective action plans that increase revenue. Continue to use it until everyone around you is conversing in a shared fundraising language. Make it your ultimate cheat sheet.

What are philanthropy, development, and fundraising?
1. Philanthropy is helping others by using your personal resources. We all have the potential to be more philanthropic.
We start here:

With support, we grow bigger:

2. Development is the process nonprofits use to help people to grow philanthropically.


3. Fundraising is a collection of opportunities that nonprofits offer that allow their supporters to express their philanthropic growth. Fundraisers such as your wine and cheese events, are represented below by the symbol “|.”

♥ __|______|_________|_________|_________|_______|___❯

1. Where do you place yourself on the philanthropic development journey line? Where would you like to be in five years?
2. Where do you hear the three concepts: philanthropy, development, and fundraising used clearly? Where do you hear confusion? How will you grow greater clarity?
3. What development activities do you offer (or might you offer) between your fundraising efforts to grow your supporters’ (staff and board included) philanthropy?

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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