How do YOU define “Culture of Philanthropy”?

I’ve heard this term a lot lately.  Believe it or not, my Google search returned over 4 million results!  Apparently this is a very popular topic in the development world – and one that plays a vital role in the success of any fundraising department.

Here are 3 of the best definitions that I found:

  1. A successful fundraising program is built around a culture of philanthropy – and that means that everyone in your organization has a role to play.  But this isn’t a “have to” or an obligation.  Quite the contrary, building a culture of philanthropy can and should be fun, and inspirational!
  2. In non-profit organizations, a philanthropic culture has an attitude that champions relationship building, which is the very essence and foundation of successful fund raising. In this culture, you’ll see an inclusive approach to fund raising that emanates from the heart of the organization and is embraced by every person in the organization. There is a clear understanding and respect for the way in which philanthropy helps an organization advance its mission.
  3. A culture of philanthropy is the perfect blend of philanthropy and fund development. A philanthropic culture embraces both donor-centrism and donor loyalty. This culture embodies the virtuous circle of relationships. In a culture of philanthropy, giving is the highest of callings. People in the organization break the obsession with transactions and mechanics and cherish interests and motions. Each person in the organization serves as an ambassador, promoting the organization’s mission and promoting philanthropy.

The culture of philanthropy in the College of Science has been fully embraced by our leadership team.  It starts with a very involved Dean who takes time out of his busy schedule to attend development workshops.  He fully supports and encourages development training for all academic faculty, especially the department chairs and program leaders – many of whom have completed development training seminars themselves.  The culture of philanthropy truly does emanate from the heart of our college and is a major component of our fundraising success.

There is always more that can be done, however.  Building a culture of philanthropy never stops.  It must be nurtured on a daily basis!  Your organization’s future depends on it.

Let me know how you define “Culture of Philanthropy” – leave a comment below.


About dknotek2015

I am a Development Director for the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having worked in the Development and Alumni Relations Department for the past eight years, I have a unique background in development, philanthropy, and relationship building. I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum as well as a current MBA candidate. You could say I am silver and blue through and through! I am passionate about helping others. I understand how important education is to our local community, the nation, and the world. I remember struggling as a student to finish my own education, and how grateful I was when I received support through the generosity of others. As a professional, I excel at securing private donations which support the students, faculty, programs, and research of the College of Science. I am uniquely qualified to bring potential donors together with areas about which they are passionate and feel compelled to support.
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2 Responses to How do YOU define “Culture of Philanthropy”?

  1. Pamela Grow says:

    You’ve got a wonderful Dean, Donna. Clearly he ‘gets’ it! A culture of philanthropy isn’t some vague fluffy term – it goes hand-in-hand with creating a donor-focused organization.


    • dknotek2015 says:

      Thanks for the comment Pamela. It’s my first response since starting my blog a few weeks ago!! I’ve been reading your blog – you have some really great information. Thanks again for my first comment!!


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