Philanthropic Synergy: The Charity “Sweet Spot”


Fundraisers get a bad wrap. I’ve heard them called used-car salesmen. People think they are too pushy. Most people personally don’t like to ask for money for charity. They feel like they are pulling teeth. But, that point is where detractors get it wrong. For me, asking for money is the most exciting part!

Asking people to support a charity is an honor and privilege. You’re asking for support of a cause you believe in. Poverty relief, education, healthcare, cancer research, early literacy…the mission of the organization is what draws people in. Charity makes the world a better place. It helps people with the challenges of life or receive basic human needs. Why be ashamed to ask someone to give to an organization that makes a difference in peoples lives?

Furthermore, if there is philanthropic synergy the task of a fundraiser is simple.

Philanthropic synergy occurs when an organization identifies a specific project that a donor is most passionate about.

Finding this “sweet spot” makes it easy to ask. It also makes obtaining a donation easy. It is a pleasure for both donor and fundraiser. When mutual interests align, the biggest impact is made to the organization. Philanthropic synergy is the opposite of giving in obligation.

A fundraiser also has the honor of making a donor (or volunteer) feel appreciated. All donors, no matter how big or small, should feel appreciated. It’s personally fulfilling when you are thanking someone for the difference they made to the charity you believe in. I wrote about a commencement speech in which Denzel Washington went as far as saying, “Giving is selfish!

He said, “The most selfish thing you can do in this world is help someone else, because the gratification, the goodness that comes to you, the good feeling, the good feeling from helping others—nothing is better than that. Not jewelry, not the big house, not the cars; it’s the joy. That’s where the joy is—in helping others. That’s where the success is.”

Philanthropic Synergy is the charity “sweet spot” for both donor and fundraiser. We both can feel good for the work we do on behalf of the organization. Fundraisers shouldn’t get a bad wrap for asking for money. They should be praised for finding a common interest and meeting shared goals. The goal being the benefit to the organization as well as the personal feeling of making a difference for the donor.

Now, go find the sweet spot, fundraisers!

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