In the last few days, Adrian Sargeant, the Robert F. Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at Indiana University and the Center on Philanthropy was named to the NonProfit Times “Top 50 Power and Influence in the NonProfit World.” He is the only academic and one of very few dedicated to fundraising in their profession.
And, of course, he is the only Hartsook-related person on the list, which probably doesn’t matter to most of you. But it matters to me.
This isn’t a pride issue.
Okay, you got me . . . It is a pride issue. But it is much more.
You know Hartsook Companies is dedicated to fundraising education and changing it to increase philanthropy. This acknowledgment by NonProfit Times gives Adrian a new platform to talk about this important change that needs to happen in our field.
Our field is changing. Our own Karin Cox the author of a chapter in the new text on fundraising and the creator of what is being called the Cox Grid on Special Events. Our COO, Matt Beem wrote the chapter on planned giving and my chapter is on major giving. We each recorded support materials for these chapters for the new AFP/IU Diploma Program which will begin in 2011, the first academically credited diploma for a special credential. And we already rewrote the American Humanics guidelines for fundraising undergraduate acknowledgment; the UK Professional Standards written by Adrian are approved.
So in the past four years Adrian and the Hartsook Institutes have begun the transformation of fundraising education in the world.
Many people ask why Hartsook has invested $5 million in advancing fundraising education in the past four years.
We did it because we know that the key to raising more philanthropic dollars is better qualified fundraisers.
Don’t misread this. I’m not blaming fundraisers—I’m helping them! Believe me, I’ve had employees who didn’t get it. They no longer work for me. They thought raising money the old fashioned way was good enough and that telling personal stories about what they thought would work was just fine.
It’s not hard to see that simply following the old rules and doing the same thing over and over will result in the same outcomes. If you’re raising money with the “I’ve always done it this way” approach, I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re leaving money on the table. A lot of money. It’s sad, because the people who rely on you to fulfill your mission deserve more.
Are you interested in increasing philanthropy?
We are. We are reaching out to organizations that have tread on that fundraising hamster wheel of experiential, anecdotal stories and misguided intuition. It’s time for creativity and growth. It’s time to use the research, not just read it. A lot of people talk about the Bank of America study, Google study or the Sargeant Bequest Pledging study, but few apply it. We do. Why? Because we must, if we are serious about growing philanthropy.
I have a small story of a recent young leader in fundraising we have been working with who is going to sweep people off their feet. Nick took a $1,000 donor and moved her to $100,000 because he believed, then to $750,000 where she is going to join the leaders of this organization. She will make a $6 million dollar gift in her estate. Nick is interested in growing philanthropy. He’s got it.
In 20 years we are going to have a cadre of fundraisers—Nick included—who have been trained and educated by various tools that the Hartsook Chair, Adrian Sargeant, developed. This is the beginning of a partnership that is growing philanthropy.
Now, we add this recognition to the Top 50 Power and Influence in the nonprofit field to the long list of honors Adrian has earned. I know Adrian. He is humbled by the honors, but he will tell you, “It’s not about me. I’m interested in increasing philanthropy.”
Congratulations, Adrian on this new recognition. You are changing fundraising thought and challenging the status quo. You are changing the world. I am glad you let me jump on for the ride.