Everyone Is entitled to their own fundraising opinions but not their own fundraising facts. That’s what the brilliant Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, without the reference to fundraising, of course. And imagine how much more we could achieve if we did a better job of aligning fundraising strategy with fundraising fact.
The trouble is that so many people come into this field or sector with presupposition, wishful thinking and, in some cases, varying degrees of delusion.
One of the more persistent myths attempts to equate giving behaviors with wealth and by extension, tax breaks. As you can see below, those assumptions couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Adherence to that myth leads to:
We have more information than every before about the nature and dimensions of philanthropy, but so few organizational leaders or “experts” avail themselves of it thereby cosigning their organizations and clients to expensive, ineffective, off-putting and erosive fundraising approaches.
If we are to correct the course, we need more fundraising leaders and practitioners to educate themselves and to share their learnings with their bosses and their boards – as soon as possible. Those who are looking for new positions or have recently accepted them should, as their first order of business, strive to engrain the facts of fundraising in their organizations – lest they continue to endure the consequences of myth and delusion.
Jim Langley is the president of Langley Innovations. Langley Innovations provides a range of services to its clients to help them understand the cultural underpinnings of philanthropy and the psychology of donors and, with that knowledge, to develop the most effective strategies and tactics to build broader and more lasting communities of support. Jim has authored numerous books including his most recent book, The Future of Fundraising: Adapting to New Philanthropic Realities, published by Academic Impressions in 2020.
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