Donors First?

Donor Centred Fundraising

Donors First?

A headline in the October 26th Globe and Mail Report on Business section caught my attention: “Doctors, lawyers, investment advisers: the case for putting clients’ interests first. This led me to reflect on the fundraising profession. Where do donors’ interests lie in our efforts to meet the financial goals of an organization?

Fundraising “is justified when it is used as a responsible invitation guiding contributors to make the kind of gift that will meet their own special needs and add greater meaning to their lives.”[1]

Matching organizational requirements and donors’ interests is the true art of major gifts fundraising. Fund development professionals who espouse a donor centred philosophy practice this. What does this approach require? I believe that:

  • Values must guide the process, as fundraising is values based.
  • Fundraisers need a philosophy of fundraising that encompasses accountability and transparency, the need to inspire trust, volunteer leadership and donors’ involvement in their philanthropy.
  • It goes beyond securing a gift to its stewardship, “…the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. It is also based on the belief that each donor contributes more than money.
  • Stewardship is more than a practice – it is an attitude. Governing boards are responsible not only for fundraising but for stewardship of the organization’s mission and resources.

How does your organization, both Board members and staff, relate to donors? Are their interests considered first?



[1] Hank Rosso, one of the all time American great fundraisers

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