’Development’ And ‘Fundraising’ Are Not Synonymous

Sections of this topic

    The following, provoked by questions to this blog, is a revision of a posting from April, 2010.

    Development is the process of creating and enhancing relationships with (potential) donors … hopefully leading to the solicitation/acquisition of (contributed) income.

    “Development” directly references the relationship between the donor and the nonprofit, and how that relationship satisfies the needs of both.

    It is, ideally, the introduction of (prospective) donors to a nonprofit 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 may also have little-or-nothing to do with the NPO’s mission, and may focus primarily on the needs of the donor. If, for example, the (potential) donor has no interest in the organization, but wants/needs to see his/her name on (a wing of or the outside of) a building, the relationship that is built is designed to get the donor to want his/her name on your organization’s building.

    Very often, a person may give because they want to please the person who is “asking,” or because they want to see their name listed alongside the names of recognizable personalities. That is fundraising, but not necessarily “development.”

    “Fundraising” only addresses the “income generation” aspect of the process. It can include fee for services, product sales and so-called “fundraisers,” as well as the generation of contributed income not based on a relationship between the donor and the organization.

    People give to satisfy their own needs. If the (relationship building) process results in having an individual want to give … feeling good about giving because his/her needs are being satisfied, and having that giving advance the organization’s mission and services, that’s a desired result of the development process.
    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com
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