Top 10 Indicators of Philanthropic Culture

10. Your Board and leadership can both pronounce and spell the word "philanthropy."

A new concept? No, actually a very, very old one and a key funding motivator for almost all donors.

9. When someone calls to make a donation the receptionist knows who it is and what to do.

All staff should be able to recognize and handle potential donors. Think customer service, competition and internal cooperation.

8. Accountability is a word your organization lives by, not pay lip service to.

The number one reason donors stop giving is because they don’t think their gift was used as intended or promised.  Be accountable in all aspects to your donors.

7. You recognize that your primary role is not fundraising… it’s building the philanthropic culture in your organization so that philanthropic relationships can survive and thrive.

Your role is not to “get donors” nor is it to “raise money”. It is to build relationships that result in the formation of philanthropists.  Donors and money are the outcomes, and you are the catalyst for social change in your organization.

6. Your organizational leadership understands/acknowledges the difference between philanthropy development and fundraising.

Philanthropy is the motivating value, development is the management of a systematic and strategic program and fundraising is the action. They are distinct but connected.

5. You have a Statement of Philanthropic Values.

Have this discussion throughout your organization and engage everyone. How do you want to treat your donors? How important are they to your organization?

4. Development is a core function that is long term, strategic and responsive to community needs.

Development is critical to fulfilling your organizational mission. It is a core part of your strategic thinking, planning, direction and action.

3. Fundraising is everyone’s job.

It does not work if it is done in isolation! Everyone has a role - ambassador, enthusiastic communicator, connector, cultivator, solicitor, steward.

2. 100% of your Board makes annual philanthropic gifts to your organization. And, your Board demonstrates its ownership of fundraising and all board members participate in fundraising, but not all in the same way.

It is very hard to ask others to support your mission if the leaders in your organization are not making annual meaningful gifts.  Encourage board members to make it one of their top three philanthropic priorities and be able to lead with both passion and demonstrated commitment.

1. Donors are viewed as stakeholders in your organization.

They are not necessary, a burden, rich, your best friends, targets or a nuisance. They are stakeholders who have invested because they care about what you do.

At its essence a culture of philanthropy is one that promotes philanthropy and has no need to apologize for fundraising. It is an understanding of and respect for the way that philanthropy serves to fulfill your mission.