“Development” is NOT a synonym for “Fundraising”

Sections of this topic

    Development is, by definition, the process of creating and enhancing relationships with (potential) donors.

    It is the introduction of (prospective) donors to a non-profit organization, building their interest in the organization’s mission/services, developing in them a passion for the mission and a commitment to the organization’s future, getting them to make-the-gift, and maintaining the relationship so that they will continue to support the mission … and continue to give.

    “Development” directly implies that the donor is supporting the organization, its mission and services.

    “Fundraising” only addresses the “giving” aspect of the process, and people don’t always give to a NPO to support the organization, its mission and/or its services.

    As noted previously, people give to satisfy their own needs. If the process results in having an individual want to give … feeling good about giving because s/he wants to advance the mission and services, that’s a desired result of the development process.

    Very often, however, a donor’s reason for giving may have nothing to do with the NPO’s mission. They may give because they want to please the person who is “asking,” because they want to see their name alongside the names of recognizable personalities, or if they want to see their name on (a floor, a wing, or on the outside of) a building. That is fundraising, but not necessarily “development.”

    When I’m working with a client, I de-emphasize the terminology, and stress the importance of getting to know the (prospective) donors well enough to know what his/her needs are and how those needs can be satisfied by making a gift to their NPO.