There is so much information at our fingertips.
Our mobile devices are handheld computers that allow us to look up anything at any time. There are blogs, websites and videos on any subject you can imagine. Type “fundraising” into your favorite search engine and you will get more than 400,000,000 hits. Literally, I just did that.
How do we know what’s relevant, accurate, and true?
What we don’t do is look at all 400 million choices. We usually just look at the first few and assume that’s the best information. Of course, internet marketers have figured this out and constantly refine their algorithms to stay at the top of the queue. To “help” us find what they want us to find.
So again, how do we know what we don’t know? Who do we trust?
To be a professional in any field we need to ask:
- Who are the industry leaders?
- Who is doing the research and publishing in our field?
- Which sources are based on verifiable research?
I’d say the gold standard for fundraising is Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (Link to: https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/). Indiana University was the first university to offer an academic program focused on philanthropy and nonprofit organizations.
Some other trusted resources I use are:
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Link to: https://www.philanthropy.com/)
- BoardSource (Link to: boardsource.org)
- GuideStar (Link to: guidestar.org)
- Foundation Center (Link to: foundationcenter.org)
There are many good authors who write about philanthropy, the art of asking, fundraising, the nonprofit sector, and other related subjects.
A personal favorite is Carol Weisman, author of “Raising Charitable Children.” (Link to: https://www.boardbuilders.com/bookstore)
Other authors who will help you hone your craft are Simone Joyaux, Tom Ahern, Jerold Panas, Laura Fredricks, Adrian Sargeant, and Penelope Burk. There are many others, but these are a great start.
The last resource I want to mention is by no means the least: your colleagues. My experience has been one of generosity. If I need a recommendation for a vendor, an event space or a new staff member, I have several people I can call. And if they don’t have the answer, they know someone who does.
The key, of course, is reciprocity.
I trust that you, like most of us, want to be the best you can be. These are just a few tips to help you out.