Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

During a recent conference call with other contributors to the Advancing the Non Profit Sector blog, we discussed how many non profit organizations could better capitalize on the collective knowledge and experience of all staff members and volunteers by creating a culture of philanthropy.

Many organizations get caught up in the silo phenomenon - every staff member or department operates mainly in their own silo without knowing what's going on in the neighboring one. They're not even sure about how they fit into the overall organization. It's especially evident in fundraising - most staff or volunteers not involved in fund development don't feel they can or want to contribute to the program. 

Non profit leaders can encourage everyone to be part of the overall organization by ensuring they are well acquainted with the mission and vision. Have them explore how they fit into the organization and encourage them to be part of the bigger picture. Organize informal gatherings where stories can be shared among colleagues. A story from the program delivery staff might trigger some ideas among the fund development staff.

Encourage staff and volunteers to share connections they may have with donor or board prospects. Everyone is part of the overall community and has formed relationships that may be beneficial to the organization as well as the prospect.

Breaking down the silos will strengthen your organization and ultimately benefit your constituents.

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