December 10, 2014

Check out the Critical Fundraising Blog at the new Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University.

WOW! Some great blog talk about various topics…topics that frustrate you and me… make us fundraisers angry… might stimulate your  board members and staff colleagues.

Here are just two of my current favorites:

  • Overhead in the nonprofit sector
  • Separating philanthropy from fundraising – because it’s “dangerous” in an educational session to conflate the two. Oh my gosh…. Hank Rosso would role over in his grave. Surely any decent fundraiser knows that fundraising is the servant of philanthropy. And without fundraising (which, of course, includes asking!), there wouldn’t be much giving!!!!!!!!!!

Check out this round up of blogs – published in November – that have adopted a critical fundraising mode of inquiry. Use these blogs to engage your staff and board and fund development committee in conversations.

But wait… Let’s step back. What is “critical fundraising?” Critical and analytical thinking. Consistent and coherent debate and argument. Scientic approach to evaluating research. Read the whole description here. Then raise your right hand and pledge that you’ll participate in this new journey. Because historically, we haven’t necessarily been so great at this approach.

Is fundraising a real profession? Research in fundraising and philanthropy is relatively new. Research about the “why” not just the “how many” is relatively new. What we have been passing on for generations is what works and what doesn’t based on practical application, doing fundraising. And some of that stuff is darn good – even great. And very very useful. But we know now that we need to know more. We need to apply the social sciences and humanities. We need marketing academics and and… We need to partner academia and practice.

By the way… one last tip. Read The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Authored by Drs. Paul and Elder. Various versions (sometimes limited) online. Teeny. Tiny. Just 23 pages long in my 4 x 5.5 inch copy. Check out the Foundation for Critical Thinking.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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