“Embracing Stupidity in Jewish Organizational Life”- My comments on this article by Dr. Edward Rettig
On May 28, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of Israel’s Fundraisers Forum, organized by “Renaissance Man” Ron Allswang. The topic of the meeting was: “Small Versus Large Donors: What’s the Right Strategy for My Organization?” (I apologize that I am writing a few weeks after it came out; most of my posts recently were my series on Dan Pallotta’s “Ted Talk”).
It was a very interesting discussion lead by Steve Solomon, the newly appointed CEO of Shapells/Darche Noam (who previously held a position at the Jerusalem Foundation), and Joseph Gitler, Chairman and Founder of Leket Israel.
The discussion was very engaging, beginning with Steve asking everyone to write down for themselves: “What is a large donor?” “What is a small donor?” It was fascinating to see how many different answers there were. Which makes sense- the type of organization (and many other factors) determine whether a donor/donation is considered large or small.
Both of the presenters had excellent advice to give. Really both large and small donors are important to organizations; the question is what is the best course for YOUR organization, in terms of strategic planning.
I don’t want to speak much more about the actual presentation, because I don’t want to accidentally give away information that the presenters would not want to be “out there” as public knowledge on the internet (although I will of course send both of them the article for their comments and approval).
However, another very important point that I took away from the meeting (I forgot who said it and I apologize for that!) was a very strong statement that what we do is NOT “Fundraising”, but rather “Resource Development”. I agree that “resource development” is a more accurate term than “fundraising”, because as “fundraisers” (or “resource development professionals”), we are not just trying to raise funds immediately. Of course if that is possible that is wonderful, but usually what fundraisers/resource development professionals work the most on is cultivating relationships … be it with private donors, foundations, federations, government organizations, etc. … we are really “developing resources”. It’s all part of a strategic plan (or should be 🙂 ).
I think that it’s important to make this distinction, because oftentimes there is an expectation (be it from the CEO, board members, etc.) that the “fundraiser”, once hired, will immediately begin “raising funds”. Again, that is the ideal, but that is not usually how it works. It is a process of building and cultivating relationships, which eventually (בע”ה) will end up with donors giving annual gifts, foundations and federations giving grants, etc.
To sum up, I do feel that it is important to refer to the field as “Resource Development” instead of “Fundraising”. It sets a certain tone and shows that the supervisor (CEO, etc.) has an awareness of the process of “fundraising/resource development”.
Thanks to all involved in organizing the Fundraisers Forum meeting, which enabled us to have these lively conversations.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on this topic.
On May 17, an article was posted by eJewish Philanthropy, which discussed the results of a report done by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The report stated that while the majority of fundraisers in the US and Canada are seeing increases in their salaries, there is still a “gender gap” when it comes to wages. Here is the full article:
(I apologize that I am writing a few weeks after it came out; most of my posts recently were my series on Dan Pallotta’s “Ted Talk”).
First of all, I’d like to say that I think it’s great that the majority of fundraisers (in the US and Canada) received raises in 2012. I think it is a sign that we are really out of the “dark era” of the 2008-2009 economic crisis, and as fundraisers, that is great news not only for salaries, but for soliciting donors as well.
But what’s the deal with the gender gap in salaries? Haven’t “we” (as a global society) moved beyond this?? Why is this (still) happening, and what can we do about it? Ironically (or maybe not! 🙂 ), there are definitely many non-profit organizations that campaign for equal pay for women.
I’m also guessing (this is just my opinion) that the salary gap is not just because “men are doing a better job”. I know that in Israel, if an organization tells you that they want to pay “base salary + commission (on the money you raise)”, or that you will work on “commission only (again, on the funds you raise)”, it is viewed as a very unprofessional organization, and no one who considers him/herself to be a professional fundraiser would agree to work under these terms. I would imagine that the same is true in the US and in Canada. So we are talking about annual salaries that are not affected by commissions. Fundraisers are not salespeople (although there is some overlap in the skill set), and should not be making commission on the donations they raise.
I also thought that it was interesting that 74% of the survey respondents were female, and 26% were male. Now, anyone involved in the non-profit field knows that it is a female-dominated field (I’ll explore this topic in more depth in an upcoming post). And yet, even so, women are still making significantly less than men. Why?
One guess that I would venture is that women are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries when they are hired, which already sets the bar for their salaries to be lower than men’s. I can relate … I consider myself to be a pretty “ballsy” person and I feel that I know what I am worth, yet I also find salary negotiation to be very intimidating. But, I have started doing it (in my active job search, which you can read about in a previous post), because I know that I have to. And really, what is there to lose? Worst case scenario, the company cannot pay you more than what they offered, so you have to decide if you are willing to take the job for the salary offered. Best case scenario, you get more money! 🙂 I think that one of the things that makes negotiating intimidating for me is that I am never sure what a fair salary is for a particular job (we need a salary.com in Israel … salary.co.il 😉 ). So, in the absence of salary.com (and perhaps this is even better), I speak with many individuals in the non-profit world to try to gauge a sense of appropriate salaries for positions. So, I guess my point is: Ladies, don’t be afraid! Or, even if you are afraid, still negotiate! 🙂 You owe it to yourself. The same goes for asking for raises at your annual review. If you’ve done a good job, you deserve (in my opinion) at least a “cost of living” increase, if not a proper raise (especially if you have taken on more responsibilities over the year).
I also think it is interesting to note that, although non-profit is a field dominated by women, usually it is the men who hold the top positions. (Again, this topic will be explored further in an upcoming post.) I can think of some reasons as to why that may be (although I might not agree with them), but still, to me it does not explain the gender gap in wages.
I am also very interested to know what the statistics are regarding the gender gap in Israel (as this is where I live). Does anyone have any information on this?
I would also love to hear your ideas as to why this gender gap exists, and what can be done about it.
Non-profit social justice-minded organizations no better employers than their for-profit colleagues, BGU researchers find
My Thoughts on Dan Pallotta’s “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong”- Part 5: Profit to Attract Risk Capital in Non-Profit vs For-Profit
Today I’d like to discuss the fifth point which Dan Pallotta addresses in his “TED Talk”: “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” (you can find the video here in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/he/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html?source=facebook#.UUgVUSeiOi1.facebook ), which is that for-profit companies have the ability to pay people (i.e. investors) profit in order to attract risk capital for new ideas, whereas no such concept exists in the non-profit world (in fact, it seems to go against the very nature of philanthropy).
Dan asserts that this situation leaves the NGO world starved for growth, risk, and idea capital. I agree with his point, and I honestly do not have a brilliant solution for it. This may sound simplistic, but this is where the non-profit field has to appeal to the emotional side of the donor. They need to want to give because they want to give, not because they are going to get something financial in return (except perhaps a tax break? 😉 ).
I think an effective way to do this is to try to connect a donor with an individual person that they are helping (of course, in a way that this does not intrude on the recipient’s privacy). For example, in a children’s charity, perhaps donors could sponsor a single child, and therefore feel that the child’s successes are in fact also “their” successes. I know that the idea of “sponsoring a child” is not a new one. I guess what I am trying to say is, because NGOs cannot return profit to their donors in order to attract money for new projects, I think we should try and focus on creating a personal connection between the donor and our cause.
Or maybe it’s time to totally revamp the “non-profit” institution, and allow donors to become “investors”, and to receive a portion of profit on long-term projects?
What do you think?