Guest Post from Responsive Fundraising


The events that have unfolded in the last several months have been tragic, to say the least, and to try to summarize this time in a few words would hardly do it justice. I am certain the outcomes will be with us for quite some time, and deliberate recovery effort will be required in order for our organizations to remain viable. Our commitment to the task of ensuring that our missions are adequately resourced will be tested. The road ahead will be difficult for nonprofit organizations around the world. We will have to see the world through clear lenses.

One of the details that was left out of 1939 film adaptation of Frank Baum’s children’s novel, the Wizard of Oz, was the spectacles that Dorothy and her friends were told they would have to wear in order to enter Oz. The Guardian of the Gate insisted that the green spectacles would prevent them from being blinded by the brightness and glory of the Emerald City. With the spectacles locked in place, Dorothy, Toto, and their three friends had to wear them day and night. They were dazzled by the luminous green appearance of the Emerald City.

As it turns out, the Emerald City was really no greener than any other city. The Wizard later confessed to why he required all who entered his city to wear the spectacles. “Just to amuse myself, and keep the good people busy, I ordered them to build this city and my palace; and they did it all willingly and well. Then I thought, as the country was so green and beautiful, I would call it the Emerald City; and to make the name fit better I put green spectacles on all the people, so that everything they saw was green.”

Like the citizens of the Emerald City, I believe we have been duped into believing that the way to understand fundraising is through the lens of methods. The method by which a gift is received (whether through the mail, at an event, or electronically) is secondary to understanding what is actually happening in the hearts and minds of our donors. I believe understanding the types of decisions that our donors are making (and not making) matters more than what method they happen to rely upon. I see fundraising through the disciplines of behavioral economics, complexity science, and cognitive psychology. I have found that these domains offer a more holistic and human-centered perspective of what’s happening rather than the reductionist and mechanical approach of methods that we’ve all grown accustomed to.

I believe fundraising has long needed a new lens. At Responsive, our philosophy aligns with the values that inform how nonprofit organizations serve those in need and we have simply directed these same intentions toward our donors. We believe ours is a truly human-centered approach for those on both sides of the charitable gift, and we believe it is most sustainable regardless of the economic climate. We want our clients to have the advantage of creating a place where fundraising can thrive and the opportunity to be recognized and admired for meaningful work. 

iWave and the team at Responsive Fundraising invite you to discover how Responsive Fundraising’s Four Frameworks can help your organization see fundraising through new lenses and how you can create an environment where fundraising can thrive. Our four-part, weekly webinar series is six-hours of fast-paced, interactive, CFRE-approved training beginning on Tuesday, July 7th and ending on July 28th.  In addition to the Four Frameworks, we have added a Recovery Plan designed to ensure that your organization is ready to navigate the road ahead with boldness and confidence.

Please join us for this one-of-a-kind, interactive webinar where you will not only learn and grow professionally, you will also walk away with practical advice and tools to help you succeed. Register here!