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Making a Culture of Fundraising Real

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I see a lot written about the need to create a “culture of fundraising” within nonprofits, but there’s something critical missing from the conversation: how do you do it?

Most of the conversations I’ve been a part of tend to end with fairly high-level pleas to make fundraising a part of everyone’s job. And while I understand the sentiment, I don’t think telling people that they now have to do their regular job AND be a fundraiser at the same time is what we’re looking for here.

Creating a culture of fundraising is not just about introducing the concept of fundraising more deeply into the organization. It’s about aligning a set of behaviors internally that drive the success you’re looking for, which, in this case, is more effective fundraising.

So what’s getting in your way?

  • Maybe part of it is the way you are structured: the program people just work with the stakeholders and the development people just ask for money. Is the right information flowing through those silo walls? Do people feel like it’s okay to collaborate across the divisions, or do they need to ask their supervisor for permission first?
  • Or maybe it’s more about agility: are the people who are closest to the problems the ones who are authorized to solve it? Maybe this lack of agility gets in the way of people taking the right kinds of fundraising actions.

There are a lot of tangible aspects of your culture—what is valued internally—that you could be addressing in order to move the needle on fundraising. Stop declaring that you have or need a culture of fundraising, and roll up your sleeves to address these real issues of how you collaborate and share information internally.

Start identifying the specific behaviors that are getting in the way. Once you have your arms wrapped around that, you can start changing actual processes with your actual people in ways that deliver better results.


Join me on Thursday, January 11 for the webinar “The Surprising Connection Between Fundraising and Workplace Culture,” to learn more about how to align culture with fundraising more effectively. You’ll learn how to take action on culture data and turn it into practical implementation for culture change and sustainability.


Jamie Notter

JAMIE NOTTER  is a founding partner at WorkXO Solutions, a culture management firm that uses culture analytics and cutting-edge consulting to drive company growth. He brings 25 years of experience in conflict resolution, generational differences, and culture change to his work with leaders around the world. Author of two books (When Millennials Take Over, and Humanize), Jamie has a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in OD from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.

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