DickersonBakker Blog

How “fundraising-friendly” is your organizational culture? Take this simple ten-question quiz to find out

How “fundraising-friendly” is your organizational culture? Take this simple ten-question quiz to find out

One of the benefits of being a consultant is that you get an inside look at a lot of different organizations. I’ve seen a lot of dysfunction over the years, but I’ve also seen some really effective programs. There’s an interesting thing I’ve observed. When an organization does really well in fundraising it’s often not just because the development team is doing a great job. There’s also something else at work that extends far beyond just the fundraisers. It’s hard to put your finger on what it is, but something internal is providing the fundraisers with fertile soil that is helping them flourish. These organizations have what I’ve taken to calling a “development-friendly culture”.

The problem that comes with saying this is that it invariably will lead people to ask: “What’s a development-friendly culture?”

Back in the 1960s, the Supreme Court heard a case about pornography. One of the questions the justices had to grapple with was how to define it. Justice Potter Stewart had this simple answer: “I’m not sure how to define it, but I know it when I see it.”

That’s a little bit how I feel when someone asks me to define what I mean by a “development-friendly culture”: I’m not sure exactly how to define it, but I know it when I see it. 

That’s probably not very helpful to you, however, so rather than trying to define it, we’ve created a simple ten-question quiz to help you rate how “development-friendly” your organizational culture is. 

Take out a pen and a piece of paper. As you read the following ten statements, rate your organization on a scale of 1-10 for each item. A score of 10 means you strongly agree with the statement. A score of 1 means you strongly disagree. A score of 5 would mean you are somewhat neutral. 

  1. The leadership of our organization places a high priority on fund development, and we are donor-centric in our organizational planning and decision-making. 
  2. People across our organization are responsive to requests for stories and information to show donors how their investments are impacting lives for the better. 
  3. We understand that it takes money to raise money and are willing to make the investments that are necessary to grow and sustain fundraising effectively. 
  4. Our Board and executive leadership are actively involved in fundraising. 
  5. We value our donors as partners in our mission, and consistently speak about them with respect and gratitude. 
  6. Almost everyone in our organization can articulate the essential premise of our case for support. 
  7. Our fund development team routinely has a voice in the decision-making of our organization. 
  8. Our staff readily engage with donors when asked to do so. 
  9. Our fundraising team members are compensated and treated in accordance with the value they bring to the organization. 
  10. We are transparent with our donors and have no issues answering their questions with integrity. 

Now take a moment to add up all your scores. How did your organization do? If your total score is 80 or higher then you would seem to have a “development-friendly” culture at your organization. If your score is between 60 and 80 then you have a little bit of work to do. If your total score is less than 60 then that might help explain why your fundraising team may be struggling to gain traction.

Need help building a more development-friendly culture at your organization? We can help! To learn how, click here to request a free no-obligation consultation with one of our consultants.

Back to blog