100 episodes

Asking Fundraising's Difficult Questions

The Fundraising Talent Podcast Jason Lewis, Host of The Fundraising Talent

    • Non-Profit

Asking Fundraising's Difficult Questions

    #122 | Are nonprofits effectively leveraging their teams to increase fundraising capacity?

    #122 | Are nonprofits effectively leveraging their teams to increase fundraising capacity?

    It’s always interesting to listen to fundraising professionals who I know are actively in the trenches every day and to hear how they are characterizing our profession’s opportunities and challenges. My recent conversation with Chris had me recognizing that many of our opportunities are with the individual fundraiser or the supervisor but, in fact, in the team dynamics that emerge between them. It was evident in Chris’ description of his experience that his role as a member of a team has been very meaningful and has informed how he thinks about fundraising.
    Chris and I kicked off our conversation with the question of whether nonprofit organizations are effectively leveraging their teams. I shared with Chris that I often see team members coming to the table with different assumptions about what it is they should be contributing and different expectations of what others should contribute. I really appreciated that we wrapped up by contemplating the idea that a good team should always be able to collectively discern which opportunities they should and should not pursue.
    Once again, we are very grateful to OneCause for being our sponsor!
     

    • 29 min
    #121 | Where should the most experienced fundraising professionals spend their time?

    #121 | Where should the most experienced fundraising professionals spend their time?

    It was a pleasure to have Travis back again as our guest on The Fundraising Talent Podcast. Previously Travis provoked our thinking about whether commissions make sense as a way to compensate fundraising professionals. I will include a link to that conversation in the comments. This time we once again glean insights from the sales profession and consider what might be gains for those of us in fundraising.
    Travis asks why we position new fundraisers with new donors and whether re-orienting their time and focus towards existing donors might offer some advantages. Travis really got me thinking about some of the advice that I have routinely given to organizations who want to develop younger fundraising talent.
    The question our conversation raises is whether the most experienced fundraisers should necessarily be focusing their time on stewarding relationships with existing donors. It also raises the question of what type of metrics we might be using to evaluate the performance of those who spend the majority of their time renewing the same level of support from an organization’s most committed donors.
    As always, we appreciate OneCause for being our sponsor.

    • 33 min
    #120 | Are nonprofits ready for the rising generation of intentional fundraisers?

    #120 | Are nonprofits ready for the rising generation of intentional fundraisers?

    Earlier this week, Timothy R. Burcham, CFRE and I began a conversation about what he considers to be the makings of a perfect storm in the nonprofit sector. Tim left us with the notion that we need to begin grappling with the fact that our roles are more than just fundraising and that, by operating solely in that box, we prohibit ourselves from making the impact that we can and should be.
    As a continuation of our conversation earlier this week, this second half offers a more optimistic outlook to what our opportunities might be in the future; namely, the rising generation of intentional fundraisers who will enjoy a very different career pathway that those of us who have come before them.
    These individuals arrive on the scene with greater clarity of their role, the foreseeable challenges they will encounter, the opportunities that are available, and the expectations they should have of their employers. Whereas my generation and those older than me entered the field much less deliberately, and carried with us loyalties to other professions, this rising generation is much more intentional about the work at hand and less dependent on another professional domain.
    Once again, we are very grateful to OneCause for being our sponsor.

    • 28 min
    #119 | Is fundraising heading for a perfect storm?

    #119 | Is fundraising heading for a perfect storm?

    I was grateful that Tim agreed to have this two-part conversation with me as I really value his perspective as a career fundraising professional and long time and active member of AFP at the international level. Tim believes our sector and the fundraising profession are at a pivotal moment and that we will be on the verge of crisis if we continue to overlook some of the signs that he summarized in our discussion. 
    Tim shared what he considers to be the makings of a perfect storm with the boomer generation settling into retirement and an insufficient and ill-prepared pipeline of talent following behind to replace them all at a time when the government is reducing it subsidies of the sector. 
    I really appreciated where Tim left us at the conclusion of this conversation because it pulls back the curtain on what I believe is our greatest impediment in fundraising - that of being technicians rather than leaders. He insisted that the first thing the local fundraiser needs to grapple with along with their employer is that the role of a development director is more than fundraising and that, by operating in that box, we prohibit ourselves from making the impact that we can and should be. 
    Once again, we are very grateful to OneCause for being our sponsor.

    • 26 min
    #118 | Has fundraising professionalized an inferiority complex?

    #118 | Has fundraising professionalized an inferiority complex?

    To kick things off, Claire explained to me that she has been quite unimpressed with fundraising practices in the United Kingdom. She shared that her disappointment began brewing at a national conference where she was quite troubled with the language that the speakers were using to characterize our work and the way that we should relate to donors. She left feeling as if fundraising was nothing more than a soulless machine designed to exploit value and asking  herself whether our missions were so inadequate as to warrant such bad behavior. 
    Our conversation stirred up some bold questions for us to consider. Are our professional identities so entrenched that we can’t think critically about what it is we are doing? Are we so different from our donors that we can’t relate to them? Have we professionalized an inferiority complex that keeps us from achieving all that we could?
    Claire believes we can make the most progress with our boards and the leaders that we hire. She believes that boards need to be more aware of how fundraising gets done and that they need to hire talent whose goals go beyond simply raising more money than the last fella.
    Once again, we are very grateful for the support of OneCause for being our sponsor.

    • 29 min
    #117 | Are fundraisers ready to think more critically about their work? Pt. 2

    #117 | Are fundraisers ready to think more critically about their work? Pt. 2

    This is the 2nd half of our recent conversation with Dr. Lesley Alborough. With Lesley’s research as the focus of our conversation, Lost in Translation: A Sociological study of the role of fundraisers in mediating gift giving in non-profit organizations, we contemplated about whether fundraisers are ready to think more critically about what they do and whether doing so might shed new light on our challenges and opportunities.
    As Lesley explains, her research aimed to address some of the questions that she began wrestling with as a fundraiser. She recognized the research available to her was especially limited, often naive and not embedded in actual practice. She wanted to answer questions such as whether fundraising practices create a barrier between the donor and beneficiary and whether they hinder the organization from accomplishing its mission.  
    It was evident that Lesley wanted to give voice to those who find it difficult to articulate what it means to be a fundraiser and to offer some insights into how we might better prepare those who want to be successful in this field. I couldn’t agree more with the notion that much of what fundraisers do can’t be taught in a classroom, limited to technique, and certainly can’t be bundled together for sale in a bright and shiny package.
    As always, much thanks to OneCause for being our generous sponsor.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

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Great content

Such valuable insight for fundraisers. Keep it coming!

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