Hi everyone. I just finished Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love, a collection of essays and poetry by Black fundraisers, reflecting on their experiences in our sector. It highlights the many instances of racism that Black colleagues face in fundraising, as well as the white savior complex and other issues with our sector, but there’s also lots of strength and joy. I highly recommend it, especially as August is Black Philanthropy Month, a good time for us to think about Black giving, support Black organizations and businesses, and elevate Black fundraisers’ experiences.
It has been a year since the Community-Centric Fundraising movement launched. I am grateful to see more fundraisers and non-fundraisers across the US and other countries embrace reexamining the problematic philosophies and practices we’ve been upholding, such as poverty tourism, tax avoidance, and the hoarding of wealth that’s been built on slavery, stolen Indigenous land, and other injustices. We have a celebration coming up on August 25th at 11am PT where we’ll reflect on what we learned this year and discuss our hopes for the future of the movement. It’s free; I hope to see you there. Register here.
As CCF grows, we’ve been encountering pushback from colleagues, including the occasional hate message. This is a good sign (although the hate messages might be little too much; come on, at least be more creative with your insults!). We should be having debates and discussions. This is how our sector improves and evolves. Here are some common arguments I and other proponents of CCF encounter repeatedly, both from people who dislike CCF with the intensity of a thousand board meetings, as well as from folks who are genuine in their desire to understand it. I want to summarize and respond to these arguments here so that we can discuss them, but also because some of them are terrible, and we need to reflect on them and then move on, because we have more important discussions to grapple with.
Hi everyone. Please grab your favorite beverage and sit down, because we need to discuss the idea of “diversified funding.” It is one of those concepts—like putting out campfires fully and not microwaving metal—that is just taken as gospel. Funders ask about it all the time. Development staff create plans around it. Fundraising gurus hold workshops about it. EDs look at what percentage of their revenues come from grants, and if it’s too high, start panicking.
I don’t like it. I think the whole concept is problematic and it’s time we move away from it. Yes, I know the main argument for having diversified revenues. What if you rely too much on a foundation, and that foundation decides—like foundations often do—to shift priorities? Well, you and your nonprofit are screwed. Just like with buying stocks (whatever those are)—it’s bad to have all your eggs in one basket and whatnot.
Hi everyone, this Friday is my birthday. If you want to help me celebrate, please donate to Mujer Al Volante, an awesome organization with the mission of helping “immigrant women become independent and empowered through obtaining a driver’s license, financial sustainability, and community support.” Mujer Al Volante does amazing and important work; thanks for supporting it. Don’t worry about me; I got myself some dark chocolate and a 3-pound bucket of Maldon salt, so I’m good until next year.
Grant reports. We all love to hate them. A reason is that like most things related to grants, we’ve learned to tell funders what we think they want to hear. Imagine if we could be honest, though:
Hi everyone. This post today will likely ruffle some feathers. I only ask that you read it with an open mind, and maybe while eating a bar of dark chocolate (it reduces stress). If you’re a regular reader of my ramblings, you know that I frequently point out various flaws in our field. I do this because I love our sector and the people in it, and I believe in our potential to be truly transformative, to be able to help create the kind of inclusive, equitable world we know is possible. We cannot achieve that potential if we become complacent or self-satisfied with the way things are.
Most of my criticisms have been met with openness, even in disagreement. When I point out how evaluation is so white and problematic, (for examples here, here, and here), colleagues in data and evaluation engage in thoughtful and constructive dialogs. When I provide hard feedback about capacity building (here, here, and here), colleagues in capacity building welcome the discussions.
Hi everyone, quick announcement before we begin. BIPOC fundraisers, join Community-Centric Fundraising on Thursday, February 11 at 2pm PT for conversation and camaraderie. This is the second of a three-part monthly series. Register here. The series is for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, thanks white allies for understanding.