How Can YOU Help Develop a Culture of Philanthropy at Your Camp?

Sea Change Strategies conducted a survey of 300 nonprofit organizations and found that only one-in-five fundraisers say that their organization has a culture of philanthropy. This was the topic of their recent webinar called Inside Out Fundraising: How to Transform your Organization from the Inside Out.    
The study and webinar reminded me of this fantastic white paper on how to build a culture of philanthropy from the Veritus Group. From these resources, an organization can learn a lot about themselves and what steps they can take to keep moving toward a true culture of philanthropy.
If I were to combine the two different consulting groups best ideas, I would focus on these steps:
  1. Learn about a culture of philanthropy (read the Veritus Group white paper!)
  2. Assess the reality. What is going right? Celebrate the successes. Talk about them!
  3. What could you be doing better? What would it take to do that?
  4. Start with yourself. Where do you fall short in building a culture of philanthropy? Where do you come from a place of scarcity?
  5. Look at the ROI of your fundraising efforts.  (Don’t fool yourself, events aren’t effective ‘friend raisers’.) Include events, direct mail, major donor cultivation, and stewardship.
  6. Step up your leadership. Where do you need to ‘lead up’? Who do you need to enroll in the concept of a culture of philanthropy? Provide resources for the board and staff leaders of your organization. Perhaps do an ROI assessment of events and pass it on to the CEO/Executive Director of your camp. Be sure to include the cost of staff and volunteer time (typically estimated at $21.79) in your ROI!
  7. Choose one action and take it on. It might be having board meetings include development (and not as the last item on your agenda!), hiring your camp’s first development professional, or having a group of leaders take on reading the Veritus Group white paper and choosing an action to focus on each month.
  8. Be sure to have periodic check-ins on this topic. Whether on the staff or a board member, track your progress, successes, and challenges.
  9. Consider being a part of one (or more) of the JCamp180 development programs: GIFT, Legacy, or Data2Donors.
Building a culture of philanthropy is not a quick process. Be patient and move ahead one step at a time. You will get there!
Written by Laurie Herrick. Laurie is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Laurie is the Director of the GIFT program, which empowers Jewish Camps to create a culture of resource abundance leading to a breakthrough in fundraising. Her focus area is in fundraising.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at