Recently our host of the First Day podcast, Dr. Bill Stanczykiewicz, sat down with Dr. Gene Tempel and Dr. Sarah Nathan to discuss having a personal philosophy of fundraising. You can listen or read for the full transcript below.
:00:11.0 Dr. Bill Stanczykiewicz: Your Personal Philosophy of Fundraising, I’m Bill Stanczykiewicz. This is the First Day from The Fund Raising School, and I’m joined today by Dr. Gene Temple, Dean Emeritus of the Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and by Dr. Sara Nathan, long-time staff member and faculty member of the Fundraising School, and we are here to talk about Chapter One of Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, the Fifth Edition that was published in 2022 and the first chapter, Gene is all about developing your personal philosophy of fundraising and this goes back to the first edition, but for this fifth edition, there have been some important updates. Help our audience understand what’s being described in this first chapter.
0:00:53.9 Dr. Gene Tempel Well, Bill, I think we really owe a great deal of debt to Hank Rosso for this whole notion of a philosophy of fundraising. So in 1991, when he published achieving excellence in fundraising for the very first time, he laid out what he thought should go into a philosophy of fundraising, but he didn’t personalize it, it wasn’t accessible, it’s something he put out there for people to read, to look at, maybe to accept, but with this chapter, I’ve taken on Sarah as a co-author of this chapter, and really for the 21st century, for 2022 and beyond. Sarah thought it was important that this chapter refocus and really try to engage somebody in developing a personal philosophy of fundraising, so we’ve taken some of the work that Hank did and enhanced it with some other things that people might consider in developing their personal philosophy of fundraising, and I think Sarah’s probably… It’s her idea, so she’s the best person to talk about that idea.
0:02:05.6 BS: Sarah, what does that mean? To develop my personal philosophy of fundraising.
0:02:09.6 Dr. Sarah Nathan: Yeah, we’ll add that we are inspired by Hank Rosso’s idea of fundraising as the gentle art of teaching others the joy of giving, and yet we all bring our individual life experiences as givers and receivers as individuals who grew up in big cities or small cities, all of those life experiences, we bring to this work as fundraisers, maybe we’re attracted to particular organizations because of our individual experience, and so helping fundraisers think about who we are as professionals was really important to us in this particular chapter, and especially this idea of professional identity can’t really be separated from who we are as individuals. When I step into the office in the morning, I don’t stop being a parent who cares about early childhood education or about opportunities for my kiddo to learn STEM education. And likewise, when I’m in the grocery store, I don’t stop being a leader of a non-profit organization out and about in my community. So those things are so intertwined that we wanted to help fundraisers be a little bit more reflective in their work and understanding how they came to this work, and then who they are as individuals, how that influences the work that they do in their organization.
0:03:36.5 BS: The work of The Fund Raising School wherever possible, is research-based, evidence-based, that harkens back to our founder, Dr. Henry Rosso, which is why he donated The Fund Raising Schooll to Indiana University, which under Gene’s leadership created the Center on Philanthropy, which is now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. So, Gene, wherever possible, the curriculum out of the fundraising school is research-based, that research is evident throughout this entire fifth edition of this remarkable textbook, and yet, as Sarah has said, we still need to leave room for ourselves our own personal philosophy. Gene, why is that important and how do we apply that to our work to our profession, especially when we think about, we’re trying to follow the research-based evidence as best we can.
0:04:21.3 DT: I think there’s some… It’s a good question, Bill, and this chapter does have some research in it, so some of these ideas about being boundaries, being a boundary spanner, fundraisers are boundary spanners, and as they have one foot inside the organization, and one foot outside the organization. There’s a lot of research in sociology about people who play boundary-spanning roles in organizations of all types. If you’re a government employee, you might be an ambassador, that’s a boundary spanning role, you live in one country, but you work for another country. If you work in sales or marketing or any of the outward-facing positions in business, that’s being a boundary spanner. So boundary spanners have to know who they are, and developing a personal philosophy of fundraising is about knowing who you are and knowing what your values are, and knowing what ethics are, and how ethics apply to what you do. It’s about creating kind of a professional stance about things that connects to your own personal values, your own personal life, etcetera. So I think with this chapter now, with Sarah’s help, we’ve given people the tools to dig into these ideas so that they can in fact develop their own personal philosophy of fundraising.
0:05:58.6 DT: Now we start with a tool that we use over and over again in the school of philanthropy and around all of philanthropy that is learning to write your own philanthropic autobiography. There’s a lot of search around that are… Even the research that Paul Schervish did about how our ideas about philanthropy go back to our first experience about when we might have received philanthropy or have witnessed philanthropy, and so Sarah and I have the beginnings of our own personal autobiographies in this chapter, so that it might help other people who are reading this chapter, start with a paragraph about their own philanthropic autobiography, why are they doing this? How they first experienced philanthropy? And how does their work as a fundraiser relate to their own personal experience in philanthropy?
0:06:58.8 BS: Sarah, as you have taught courses for the fundraising school, executive education professional development, as well as the academic courses at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I know that philanthropic autobiography is a tool that you use frequently when you teach. Help our audience understand more. Expand upon Gene’s description, please, about this tool and what people learn and some of the things that you’ve observed as students and participants have used the philanthropic autobiography.
0:07:25.1 DN: Sure, and I might answer that by saying what I’ve learned about myself from working through the philanthropic autobiography, and as Gene said, this is kind of a classic learning exercise that we’ve been using at the Lilly Family School for decades now. And it helps individuals work through their earliest experiences with philanthropy, like Gene just said, as recipients of philanthropy, their role models for philanthropy and other influential individuals who have been givers or recipients in their personal lives. Thinking about where the values and experiences happened for a lot of individuals that might be in a faith based community, that might be in a school, I was in a parochial school for me, and just thinking about all those experiences in a new way and in a new light, in an organized way, and the chapter does in fact provide that organization of the philanthropic autobiography as well as some other components for developing and thinking through your personal philosophy of fundraising.
0:08:39.3 DN: And I can just say for myself what an important tool it has been, especially as I’ve navigated a recent career transition, that this was the thing that I came back to as I was preparing for my job talk in front of a prospective board of individuals, that I used components of this philosophy as part of my job talk, and now today as I navigate new challenges and maybe some potential ethical challenges in my new role, that this philosophy is grounding for me, that this is the thing I can go back to that, yes, this is why I know what I know, why I believe what I believe and helps me make better decisions as a leader.
0:09:26.6 BS: And this is such an important starting point, because we believe that philanthropy is part of the human condition and a human condition worth academic study and then teaching two practitioners through the fundraising school, that is as I get in touch with my own philanthropic values and motivations, that helps me understand that the donor has philanthropic values and motivations, and we’re looking to make that connection for the donor with the public service mission of our non-profit organization, and those are the techniques and themes that then persists throughout the rest of this fifth edition of achieving excellence in fundraising and Gene as we have this kind of broad philosophical conversation, you and Sarah have drawn inspiration from Maya Angelou. How is her wisdom and her inspiration part of this chapter?
0:10:14.4 DT: Well, I think that we talk about philanthropy as something that is beneficial to the donor and the volunteer as well, and there’s a whole chapter in the book about… That’s done by Sara Konrath, that talks the work that academics have done to try to understand the positive impact that giving and volunteering has on the donor and volunteer. And to use that as a point of inspiration for people who do fundraising work, that it should become something that fundraisers consider as they develop their own philosophy of fundraising.
0:11:04.8 DT: And I really like the quote from Maya Angelou. She says that many people say, you know that it’s better to give than to receive. And that’s what we’re getting at here. But here’s Maya Angelou’s take on this. She said, “I found that among the other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver, that the giver is enriched as is the recipient, and more important, that intangible but very psychic force of good in the world is increased.” So in short, the philosophy of fundraising has to be based on this kind of confidence that we’re actually doing some good not only for the recipient, but for the donor as well, and that’s what helps… I think fundraisers see themselves as an instrument, a profession that helps donors and volunteers find fulfilment through their generosity to others, and I think that’s an important aspect of philanthropy, and I like the way Maya Angelou says it.
0:12:22.9 BS: And Sarah as we conclude with final advice for fundraisers as well as for students, fundraising is not about the fundraisers, it’s about the cause. It’s about the people in the communities being served by the cause through that non-profit organization, and as Gene reminded us so well, and with that quote from Maya Angelou the idea that the donor benefits significantly through the joy of giving, that this is not a one-way transaction, but a two way transformational relationship with so many winners, when charitable giving is happening, so it’s kind of ironic that with fundraising, it’s not about the fundraiser it’s about all these other things, which is why paradoxically you want fundraisers to start by looking at themselves, being grounded, knowing their own philanthropic autobiography. When you think about that, what advice do you have for fundraisers and students as they encounter this chapter?
0:13:12.4 DN: Yeah, I’m just reminded of some really wise advice that I received from my mentor here, Gene, right that fundraisers don’t… What is it? Fundraisers are not the heroes here, we make these transformational connections so that donors can experience that joy of giving that improves our community in X amount of way, so we do have to be able to take ourselves out of that equation objectively. And I think that maybe this… The philosophy of fundraising can help us do that, remind us that we’re not the hero in the story, our donors and beneficiaries are the heroes, but we can continue to play that important match-making role between people who care about causes that matter.
0:14:06.7 BS: Understanding your personal philosophy of fundraising, chapter one, that gets us started for the rest of the fifth edition of Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, a textbook that is used in our academic courses in the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and in colleges and universities across the world. And content that informs the research-based curriculum of The Fund Raising School available in person in more and more cities across the United States, and of course, we maintain a robust presence online, whether it’s recorded courses so called asynchronous or live virtual courses, whatever works best for your schedule.
0:14:46.1 BS: Now, we also have custom training designed specifically for your non-profit, your association, your region, anywhere across the United States, and in fact, anywhere across the world. We have quarterly webinars, three weekly podcasts, and all the information about achieving excellence in fundraising 5th edition, and the fundraising school is available on our website, philanthropy.iupui.edu/thefundraisingschool. Our guests today have been Dr. Gene Tempel and Dr. Sarah Nathan our producers, Jennifer Baughman and Mike Anthony, I’m Bill Stanczykiewicz, and now you are more fully informed on this first day from the Fundraising School.