Editorial | Major gift fundraising doesn't work with Community-Centric Fundraising principles

publication date: Jul 13, 2021
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author/source: Ann Rosenfield

Recently, there has been much important conversation on the topic of Community-Centric Fundraising. As part of this conversation, there have been many well known fundraisers who have argued that the two models can co-exist. That is a pipe dream when it come to standard major gift fundraising.

According to the CCF website, "Community-Centric Fundraising is a fundraising model that is grounded in equity and social justice. We prioritize the entire community over individual organizations, foster a sense of belonging and interdependence, present our work not as individual transactions but holistically, and encourage mutual support between nonprofits."

Contrast that with standard major gift fundraising. Whether it is a menu of naming opportunities, individualized proposals tailored to a donor's interests, or custom donor recognition, the entire area of major gifts work focuses on a highly individual approach donor by donor.

To be fair, there have been some collaborative fundraising efforts in Canada. The Humanitarian Coalition is a collective disaster relief organization that works to maximize income by working together. Calgary's RESOLVE Campaign also brought together a wide range of homeless serving organizations on a collective housing campaign. So, there is successful precedent in the sector for collaboration. It is also true that these two campaigns are the exceptions, not the rule in fundraising. 

While some in the sector hope to paper over the differences between Community-Centric Fundraising and conventional fundraising, there is no substantive grounds to support that view. CCF asks important and hard questions of the charity sector. The sector needs to listen more and accept that CCF is not a variation of current fundraising practices but an important, and completely different, approach. Wishing the two are similar is not going to bridge the difference.

Ann Rosenfield is the editor of Hilborn Charity eNews. 



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