Hands holding a gift box isolated on black background
July 26, 2016

Are You Creating a Culture of Philanthropy Among Your IT Staff?

Charities that have a strong culture of philanthropy value development and have integrated it into every aspect of their operations. A culture of philanthropy is composed of the attitudes, relationships, and interactions that staff cultivate, both internally and externally with the public. It takes more than just the development team to make an effective culture. Sure, the Chief Development Office or Development Director may be responsible for the day-to-day fundraising. However, creating a strong culture of philanthropy requires everyone on the team to participate—including your IT staff.

Here are five ways to create a culture of philanthropy among your IT staff:

Make Sure They Are Familiar With the Case for Support

A case for support is simply the call to action to support your organization. Too often support staff who are not involved in fundraising aren’t familiar enough with why someone should give or how someone can give. You can make it easier for anyone in your organization by helping them become familiar with the case for support. How can this be done? It can be done during the first week when a new employee is going through orientation or it can be done over the course of a few weeks as the new employee gets settled into the new job.

Ask Them to Advocate for the Cause

One would hope that your IT team thoroughly support the mission and enjoy what they do for a living. Ask your IT team members to become advocates for the cause. Have them get their friends and family involved with the organization and fundraising events. Ask them to open doors for you. You may be surprised at who they know. They might just be living down the street from the “Millionaire” next door and could introduce you to her.

Tap Into Their Fundraising Skills and Ideas

A client to whom I provided consulting services last year had one of the most incredible nonprofit IT Managers. He really “got” what it meant to be part of a culture of philanthropy. He was constantly networking and reaching out to his connections to leverage them for his nonprofit. It resulted in a $25,000 in-kind donation for his group. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He came up with the idea for a mobile kiosk that would offer volunteers and visitors the opportunity to peruse the website and even donate while they were on-site. He spearheaded the project and put it together; with the help of the development department, they started using it to engage more people. In most cases, the development team isn’t out there searching for technology donations and are often so preoccupied with making the ask they may not have time to think outside the box very well. Tap into your IT people to have them get in-kind donations and bring new ideas to the table.

Invite Them to Serve on the Development Committee

Development committees are not just made up of fundraisers. Ask an IT professional to join your committee. Oftentimes, groups will bring in consultants to teach workshops on how to make the ask. If you’re hosting one of those workshops, this represents the perfect opportunity to include your IT team member. Have the staff member attend any fundraising training you provide to your board or development staff.

Empower Them to Use Social Media to Boost Your Online Presence

Have them use social media to promote the cause and tell a story. The IT Manager I mentioned earlier was very active on social media sites. He regularly used LinkedIn to share posts about what was going on at his organization and to comment on other postings.

Creating a culture of philanthropy takes time. When you’re building a culture of philanthropy among your organization, don’t forget to include your IT team members. They may end up being some of the best fundraisers for your cause.

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Deanna Ackerman
Deanna Ackerman is the Founder of Advanced Development Executives (www.adefundraising.com) a consulting firm that provides expert advice and development services to support charities in reaching their fundraising goals.