Why We Care About Relationship Fundraising (Research)

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Since Ken Burnett outlined the principles of relationship fundraising in his 1992 book, Relationship Fundraising, the idea has spread throughout the fundraising community to become one of the dominant modes of thought about fundraising.

But there is still little agreement amongst practitioners about what relationship fundraising actually is and what a relationship approach practically means for the way in which we steward our relationships with donors. Fundraisers have a general sense of what it means as a guiding philosophy, but little idea of the theories, tools or frameworks that could be guiding their approach, or the results that might be achieved if they did so.

What Does Relational Fundraising Look Like Today?

It’s time for new research to be conducted given how technology has impacted the world in the last twenty years.

Pursuant is honored to support brand new relationship fundraising research—the first of its kind in over two decades. When the opportunity arose to re-examine the principles of relationship fundraising with fresh perspective, we could not have been more excited to co-sponsor fundraising think tank Rogare’s discoveries.

Why We Care About Relationship Fundraising (Research)

The research we’re helping to fund aims to review and refashion relationship fundraising by incorporating ideas from psychology and relationship marketing to provide its theoretical foundation.

Here are a couple of specific reasons we’re excited about the project:

The challenges facing fundraisers today require us to think differently in our approach. How we find, begin, manage, and grow those relationships can seem like an impossible task at times. Compiling the collective expertise of senior practitioners in relationship management and social psychology, this study seeks to join what we’ve always known about the nature of human relationships with fresh insights from the science of how we make decisions.

We must continue to discover and implement the very best disciplines if we hope to improve as effective fundraisers today, and in the future. We are confident that the results of this study offer tangible and actionable observations about how these principles have evolved.

Do you have a strategy for relationship fundraising in your organization?

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