The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 1


Get on the Pathway to Passionate Philanthropy, Not Forgettable Fundraising


Philanthropy is a mindset. An embracing culture. A noble value.

Fundraising is a means towards that end. Servant to philanthropy.

Philanthropy, not fundraising.

This has been the tagline for my business and blog since I began Clairification in 2011. It grew naturally out of my experiences working as a frontline development director for 30 years. I’ve always insisted that no single person could possibly receive credit for a donation.  “Donors don’t give because of development staff,” I’d tell program staff.  “They give because of the great work you do!

Sustainable fundraising takes a village.

In fact, in my practice I went so far as to develop a point system for major gifts moves management (you can learn about it here) that ascribed many more points for a donor meeting with a program director than one with a development staffer.  I wanted to show program staff how much they counted!

Everyone counts.

This is exactly the premise of the groudbreaking report commissioned in 2016 by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, “Beyond Fundraising: What Does it Mean to Build a Culture of Philanthropy?.” It was one of three reports centering on confronting chronic fundraising challenges, and showcased the paramount importance of building an organization-wide philanthropy culture as a paradigm for the 21st century. When the report came out, here’s what I said: