You’d be amazed at how many iterations one goes through when writing a book… unless of course you’ve written a book, in which case you wouldn’t!
For quite some time, a main Getting to Giving theme was that fundraising has to be viewed – and done – with a “whole system perspective.” We constructed a whole “how to” section of processes, to illustrate and expand on that notion. While we ultimately decided to spotlight the four questions, we remain adamant about the importance of taking a whole system approach.
Why? So many reasons! For one, the whole purpose of fundraising is to support your cause. Yet all too often, the connection between mission and money is weak at best. Being able to articulate your mission with clarity and conviction is a good start, for yourself and your organization as well as your intended beneficiaries and prospective donors. But it’s just a start. Have you thought through what will be required to deliver on that mission, including philanthropic resources? Have you translated that into an ambitious but realistic fundraising strategy that will help you target prospects, and not unwittingly accepting gifts that aren’t true to your mission? Do you have the capacity to execute your plans?
Here’s a way to visualize a whole-system approach. At its heart is the belief that nonprofit organizations exist to serve their intended beneficiaries and, we would argue, deliver value to donors as well. You will need an economic model that likely will include some form and level of fundraising. The key is to ensure that your fundraising is fully integrated into other management systems, and enabled by support systems and a collaborative, team-based effort.
Getting to Giving reflects the principles and practices of a whole system approach. We also will be talking about its components in future “how to” columns of our newsletter. For a sneak preview of that, we invite you to take a look at an overview offered in the Resources section of the Getting to Giving website… and please do share your feedback!