Planning Model #1
Two Fundraising Cultures
It is human nature for all of us to blame someone or something other than ourselves when something isn’t working as well as we’d like. When it comes to fundraising woes in the nonprofit sector, it’s especially easy to point fingers at donor attrition, professional turnover, a disengaged board, or a weak economy as the culprits. However, the most entrenched challenges cannot be effectively addressed by casting blame but instead require an understanding of the system that perpetuates our problems. the sector’s fundraising challenges are systemic and can only be remedied by restructuring the system.
The Two Fundraising Cultures model is a systems archetype which mirrors similar behavioral patterns that are observable in many other aspects of our personal and professional lives. For our purposes, the “shifting the burden archetype” distinguishes between a fundraising culture that consistently shifts the burden for additional support to initial and often trivial gifts versus a culture that relies on meaningful relationships as the pathway to meaningful and significant levels of support. The fundamental solution in the bottom loop is never as immediately attractive as the symptomatic solution that we turn to in the top loop. In order for the fundamental solution to take hold, we often have to redefine the problem itself which often prevents us from assuming the symptomatic solution is the right path to follow.