The word, ‘fundraising,’ conjures up so many different definitions and understandings that I have grown fond of asking people what they mean when they use it.
For instance, ‘fundraising,’ can mean broadening the base of support, or inviting more people to give, or getting more people to participate on a giving day, or implementing a live auction during a special event. When I hear those definitions, I understand the person is talking about “annual giving.”
On the other hand, ‘fundraising,’ can mean raising significant gifts for a specific project or initiative, or tracking the number of personal visits with major donors, or identifying or researching the most wealthy families in our community. When I hear these definitions, I understand the person is talking about “major giving.”
And finally, ‘fundraising,’ can mean getting as many people as possible to include our institution as the beneficiary of their estate plan, or communicating with older donors about IRA distributions, or hosting an educational event focused on retirement planning. When I hear these definitions, I understand the person is talking about “planned giving.”
Far too often we make assumptions that miss the mark. It’s smart to seek perspicuity.
It’s hard enough to do this work well when there is clarity and understanding.