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BlogBuilding a Culture of Philanthropy

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Building a culture of philanthropy with people coming together to support nonprofits.

Building a Culture of Philanthropy

November 15 marks National Philanthropy Day, a day to recognize community philanthropic contributions. President Ronald Reagan first signed an official proclamation for National Philanthropy Day in 1986 for Americans to celebrate the philanthropic contributions of individuals and organizations. Today, National Philanthropy Day is celebrated across the globe with hundreds of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) chapters hosting events each year.

The generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations is celebrated worldwide around National Philanthropy Day, but many nonprofit organizations struggle with creating a culture of philanthropy within their organization. Often those working in nonprofit organizations perceive fundraising to be part of the development officer or executive director role, but all employees and volunteers can play a role in raising funds to advance the mission.

Here are some tactics to help build a culture of philanthropy within your organization.

  • Integrate fundraising into staff and board meetings. Many board members and staff outside of the fundraising team are uncomfortable asking others for gifts. Fundraising should be part of the mission of the organization. The saying goes, “No money, no mission.” When communicating the needs of your organization, share how everyone has a role to help open doors to raise funds that make the work of the nonprofit possible. Additionally, take opportunities to share financial needs with volunteers and staff members during one-on-one conversations so that they feel equipped to answer questions from others in the community who may express a desire to support the cause.
  • Integrate fundraising into staff and board meetings.Communicate program needs. Often those within an organization don’t know or understand how fundraising benefits the organization. Share details regularly on how fundraising efforts make it possible for programs to continue or be enhanced or expanded to serve more people in new ways. Equipping employees and volunteers with a slate of funding needs allows them to share with others who may not be on the organization’s prospect list.
  • Invite the fundraising team and board members to shadow the program team in delivering services. To be able to raise funds, development team members need to have a comprehensive understanding of what and why funds are being raised. Give fundraisers and volunteers hands-on experience so that they can articulate their needs and impact when asking others for support.
  • Engage other team members in fundraising activities. Similar to having a fundraising team and board members observe your organization’s services, program team members can benefit from participating in the organization’s fundraising activities too. This includes inviting a program team member to assist in making gift asks. Often program team members or volunteers experience first-hand the impact the organization has on the constituents served. During a donor visit, a program team member can share stories of their service to demonstrate empathy and impact. The development officer or executive director may share how their philanthropic support would assist the organization in furthering the mission.

AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising is proud to support National Philanthropy Day in several communities by sponsoring AFP eventsFor more information on creating a culture of philanthropy within your organization, contact our AMPERAGE fundraising team at 319.268.9151 or visit us at

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.