While no one openly discusses corporate culture, culture is what defines the personality and behavior of an organization as a whole. Philanthropy itself is a cultural faction; determining an organizations attitude towards philanthropy and fund development. Creating a culture of philanthropy is more then just pushing for fundraising, its creating the internal need and value for each and every member of every level of your organization to represent and vouch for your organization.
If everyone from your board directors to volunteers to donors feels committed and vested in your organization you can create another level of activism and, in turn, enthusiasm and turn around in fund development. It’s important to create, build and foster an organized and focused board and staff team as well as a board level development committee. This is the group ultimately responsible for building funds.
The board’s fund development committee is responsible for providing leadership and to institutionalize the process of development within the board. The staff provides leadership, information and support and serves as the resource for best practices and the body of knowledge. However, the best staff and the best committee engage each and every board member — and other volunteers — in the process of fund development. And the best development staff engages all their colleagues in the process of philanthropy.
Board Member responsibilities must include understanding and promoting the culture of philanthropy. They should also serve as philanthropic ambassadors within the organization as well as through the community. They should be committed to actively contributing annually to the best of their ability as well as support any special campaigns again to the best of their ability. They should also take initiative in identifying and cultivating prospective donors and fundraising volunteers all while participating in fundraising task as well.
Concurrently, staff members must also truly understand and promote philanthropic culture while serving as ambassadors within the organization and community. Staff and all other client facing roles should help build and maintain positive relationships around the organization. While they don’t have to actively fundraise, they should remain sensitive and aware of others, provide quality service and pay attention to interests. The staff should also be prepared to assist and support development staff with grant and other such programming activities.
At the end of the day, the philanthropic efforts of an organization are only as strong as the culture that surrounds them. If the team truly believes and habitually acts in favor of the organizations goals, funds are naturally development more effectively.