Reflections on “Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising”

“More simply put, the key element missing from many fundraising scenarios is old-fashioned, all-American teamwork, inspired and energized by shared mission and vision!"

“More simply put, the key element missing from many fundraising scenarios is old-fashioned, all-American teamwork, inspired and energized by shared mission and vision!”

I’m preparing a client presentation on the necessity of having a comprehensive development plan and a committee to carry it out, prefacing my work with a very insightful report, Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. A joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Underdeveloped sheds light on the challenges, which so many development professionals, executive directors, and non-profit board members encounter on behalf of the organizations they champion.

One of the study’s calls to action includes “Share Accountability for Fundraising Results,” explaining that, “One of the tenets of a culture of philanthropy is deep and passionate engagement across the organization, which translates into shared accountability for the organization achieving its fundraising goals.” More simply put, the key element missing from many fundraising scenarios is old-fashioned, all-American teamwork, inspired and energized by shared mission and vision!

I grew up observing my parents, grandparents, and their friends – “The Greatest Generation” – work as functioning teams to help build local churches, schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations. What made their successful collaborations so remarkable was that they accomplished their philanthropic work in the midst of the Great Depression and two World Wars!

Underdeveloped focuses on current, very real problems in today’s fundraising arena. However, I hope deeper awareness of these stumbling blocks will go a long way to help revive the “can-do” spirit that created and sustained the Culture of Philanthropy, not only in our local communities, but also in our country!

Following the good advice of The Table Group business consultant, Patrick Lencioni (who quoted Samuel Johnson), perhaps we only need to be “reminded” of our great legacy of giving? What worked then can still work today – but we have to know what the problems are, before we can work together to resolve them!

As someone who has been involved with fundraising, either as a volunteer or as a professional, for over 30 years, I strongly urge anyone interested in philanthropic work to read this report! I hope it will enlighten and inspire you to action on behalf of the non-profits and faith-based organizations you so selflessly support!

To access this report, please go to: Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising.

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About the Writer:
Constance “Connie” F. Anderson is a multi-generational native of Baton Rouge, and is proud to call Louisiana’s state capital “home.” She recently returned to family and friends, after having spent a wonderful year away as the Executive Director for the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation. For more information about Connie, or to get in touch with her for a potential fundraising consultation, please contact her at Constance.Anderson@cox.net.