Philanthropy is sometimes said to be “society’s risk capital.” But without market accountability, without consumers or competitors, we can’t properly speak of philanthropic grantmaking as “risk taking.”
Reviewing Jeremy Beer and Jeff Cain’s “The Forgotten Foundations of Fundraising: Practical Advice and Contrarian Wisdom for Nonprofit Leaders.”
When fundraising appeals become indistinguishable from other forms of entertainment, we risk undermining the role that civic mindedness and virtue can and should play in motivating philanthropy.
Given the decline of trust in American society, particularly trust in institutions, it’s refreshing to think of fundraising as a profession with a higher calling.
As fewer Americans make room in their budgets for charity, fundraisers are increasingly directing their appeals to people who are… well, out of practice.
The words we use shape the way that we and our donors think about fundraising. It’s fine to borrow ideas from other industries and institutions—let’s just make sure they’re the ideas we want.