I wanted to take a moment today to recommend a great essay by Lilya Wagner over at onPhilanthrophy. Wagner is vice president for philanthropy at Counterpart International and has taught fundraising at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Her essay is entitled, "A Crossroads on the Path of Professionalism in Fundraising." It is extremely well researched and provides a list of over 50 articles and studies on the topic of fundraising as a career. She asks a lot of great questions.
Are we still the technicians, by choice or circumstances, who try to achieve pre determined goals set without our involvement, have no voice, practice a fill in the blanks type of fundraising in which we count the visits and follow those “ten easy steps,” follow and don't lead, and obey the rules without thinking about them? Or are we professionals who can command respect?Take a moment and give it a read today... and we'll be back to scandals and gossip tomorrow.
Are we proud of the research now available and being conducted in our field and does that information shape our practice? Do we adhere to the body of knowledge and fundamentals that dictate best practices? We have many publications, associations with clout, oversight organizations or “watchdogs,” and philanthropy and fundraising are the subject of books by ex-presidents and mainstream media publications. Do these influence us and our practice, or do we shrug off such indicators of professionalism as too academic and esoteric, choosing to focus on the technicalities of our jobs?