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Appreciative Fund Raising?

What better application?

What better candidate for an appreciative view than the field of fund raising? After all, this is the field where public radio and television whine about how derelict we are if choose not to subscribe.

This is the field where most organizations place their self-defined “needs” ahead of the results they’ve achieved or the potentials they see. And this is the field where (in the worst of cases) community-minded donors are cynically courted by calculating professionals — then forgotten as soon as their cash is in hand.

Conventional fund-raising practice has come to focus on financial results — which tends to make the process awkward and distasteful for all concerned. It’s as if people don’t want to contribute and have to be convinced against their wills.

The quest starts with a different view

In contrast, the quest assumes people do want to give, and it focuses on the meaning of the philanthropic act. .

The quest recognizes that exemplary acts of philanthropy can have a transformative impact on all parties involved — the donor, the professional, the organization, the community and society. And it asks us to keep our eye on potentials and capacities, rather than “needs” and deficits

Integrating philanthropy with mission

The quest has also come to represent the integration of philanthropy with the core mission, programs and services of the organization. No longer can “fund raisers” operate as a glorified sales force for the organizations’s “needs.”

Philanthropy, in fact, is part and parcel of the organization’s reason for being: to offer people opportunities to tangibly express their commitment to the ideals the organization stands for.

A potent combination

Through the quest, the “awareness-raising” capacities of appreciative inquiry are joined with the “action-producing” capacities of philanthropy. And that’s a potent combination.

More about the advancement of organizations of social good.

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