“As a former organizer, I believe in the saying that every worker is an organizer. As a development professional, I also know that every organizer is a fundraiser.”
Beth Rayfield has led fundraising at two organizations that have received FLA support: The Center for Community Change and CHIRLA. This article was originally published in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.
“One of the biggest challenges to building a culture of fundraising is that fundraising can be devalued at our social justice organizations. At some of our organizations you will hear people say, “Oh, I hate fundraising.” Why is this OK? Your colleagues would feel diminished if you said, “I hate organizing,” or “I hate educating our members.” Fundraising is perceived to be separate from movement building—not transformational like organizing, not strategic like policy advocacy and campaign work, not a benefit to the community like direct service. It is seen as a necessary evil, a soft skill, a symptom of what is wrong with capitalism and the nonprofit industrial complex.
In reality, fundraising IS movement building. It is one of the many ways that we educate, agitate and organize. Our donors are activists, advocates and stakeholders. They march with us, pray at our vigils, carry signs at our protests and yes, they invest in us. Our donors are us and each member of our organizations must engage them in this vital work of social change by seeking their time, talent AND treasure.”