Continuing yesterday’s thread, I think we might need a new job title. “Fundraising” is stigmatized – it sounds transaction-y and narrow and kind of like something you don’t want to do. (If there’s a job out there that no one can fill, then I probably don’t want it, right?) “Development” is not so great either – too euphemistic.
One approach is to borrow known words from the for-profit sector. Personally I have no problem with “sales” because I’ve gotten to know lots of incredible salespeople, and I’m not hung up on the “have-I-got-a-deal-for-you” used car salesman baggage (it is so outdated that it’s lost its power). “Business Development” seems equally OK, since it implies a level of partnership and co-creation that actually captures a lot of what this work really is about.
Everything else seems a little too clever by half, things like:
- Head of Resource Mobilization
- Chief Rainmaker
- Director of Strategic Alliances
- Capital Raiser Extraordinaire
- Head Storyteller
- Philanthropic Adviser (taken)
If you ask the best fundraisers (and salespeople) what they do they will say things like: “build partnerships,” “steward relationships,” “mobilize resources,” “make connections,” “build networks and tribes,” “tell stories,” and “translate across lines of difference.” Of course you “raise funds,” but the word has no moxie and I’m skeptical that we’ll succeed in resuscitating it anytime soon.
Maybe this isn’t all that important, but if we know that there’s a need for a new model of “fundraiser,” one with a broader remit, a deeper connection to the mission of the organization, and a defined role of bringing the voice of top stakeholders into strategic decision-making… well we’ve got a branding problem on our hands.