#125 | Is donor-centered fundraising really what our donors are looking for?

I had the pleasure of meeting Ian three years ago during the Understanding Fundraising Conference in Canterbury. I have since enjoyed bantering with him on a consistent basis on Rogare’s Critical Fundraising Forum. Unlike other similar Facebook groups notorious for policing conversations, Ian facilitates a site that encourages disagreement, leans into difficult questions, and refuses to take any of it personally.

The fact that Ian doesn’t take any of our disagreements personally is evident in today’s podcast conversation in which we banter around a number of issues beginning with the question of ethics and why our profession doesn’t have the volume of scholarly research that other domains have. From there we tossed around the question of whether “donor-centered” fundraising, by whatever definition, is really what donors are looking for. I shared with Ian that I have appreciated the rights-balancing approach that he has authored and find it a helpful alternative to always thinking through the lens of donor-centered fundraising. Adopting this perspective, rights-balancing suggests that Fundraising is ethical when it balances the duty of fundraisers to solicit support on behalf of their beneficiaries, with the relevant rights of the donor.

Ian and I continued with the question of whether the average fundraising professional has the necessary margin to address any of these questions for themselves, hence the reason we might find ourselves with limited resources. I suspect that, as Rogare and similar groups gain notoriety, we might see some of this predicament addressed and resolved.

Once again, we appreciate the generous support of OneCause supporting these important, thought-provoking conversations every week!

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