Philosophy of Philanthropy

Written by Brandon Allen Executive Director / Fortify Foundation

My hope and aim with this article is to help you refocus your fundraising strategy. With the help of an insider’s philanthropic perspective, and a reminder as to what is most important to relay in our communications, this will hopefully allow us to reassess, or perhaps realign, our current strategies.  

Here are 3 helpful tips to remember in Philanthropy: 

  1. The integration of the mission.  

 I know this one should be the easiest for us to remember. A better question for us to ask however, is our mission being effectively communicated? Perhaps you do this well as an administrator. The next question is, does your team communicate it in the same manner OR do they tend to come up with their own mission? That’s not to say that their communication is bad, but it may come across as incongruent. The last thing you want is for your constituents to leave confused as to what the overall mission is.  

  1. The impact from the mission. 

 It’s one thing to know the mission, it’s another thing to show how that mission is actively played out and making an impact. Perhaps your team can collectively communicate the mission but how does that translate down to what happens within your operation? This is where it often gets caught up in the minutia of the day-to-day activities and, if we’re not careful, can be forgotten. Where is the tangible evidence of our mission in action? Do you and your staff still get excited about it? There is always room to improve. If you haven’t heard me say it before, you most assuredly will hear me say it again, ‘what worked in the past, may not work in the future.’ It’s not a matter of what has been done, but what you are doing that matters most to your current donors. 

  1. The invitation to the mission. 

 This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. IF we have effectively communicated our mission and revealed its impact, are we willing and ready to invite others to be a part of that mission? You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘it never hurts to ask!’ Or as James 4:2 puts it, “you have not because you ask not” OR you ask with the wrong motive as revealed in the following verse. An invitation must be extended AND it must be about the donor and not our immediate need. Remember, as you gain further insight in the next article, not every individual will line up with or get behind our mission, and that’s ok! But we still need to be diligent to share that mission with as many people as possible to find the ones that do!   

As administers of Christian education, we all have truly been blessed by the amount of donations we have received. Understanding that there are individuals willing to give their hard-earned dollars to support our cause is humbling. To date, religious education makes up more than 40% of all donations in the United States. Currently there are still more people that believe in a variation of our cause than any other single philanthropic issue. So, regardless of the amount or the frequency, be thankful for what God has entrusted us with and continue to focus on why you exist! 

P.S. – Right after finishing this article, I learned of a ministry that just received a $50,000 donation just due to their ability to communicate their mission. There were no previous ties to the donor and no invitation to the mission in the initial conversation. This is why these steps are so critical! We never know when or how God will use it! 

Read a Perspective from a Philanthropist here.