Category Archives: Women

Feeling Included, Thanks!

Do you hear what I hear?

Presenting my very first audio-log and it’s a greeting of my gratitude for you, dear readers and engagers of A Few Great Women. It’s only four brief minutes so pour your beverage of choice and tune in.

LISTEN

Please feel free to post a comment; let me know what you think. This space is better with your thoughtful reactions.

Also check out Lady Links and Donations at the Diva Level for the latest resource and gift updates specific to women donors.

PS: Here’s the link to Teresa Younger’s interview mentioned in my message: VIEW

 

 

Empowering Philanthropic Women: Survey Said

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Renewed by some conference learning courtesy of CPRA, Apra’s Colorado chapter, I’m writing from Fort Collins, Colorado, where I had the joy and pleasure of presenting “A Woman’s Place is in Your Prospect Portfolio.” Here, I outlined a business case and moral imperative for identifying, researching, engaging and stewarding women donors. Specifically, I offered suggestions for fund development organizations to start – or carry on confidently – on the wonderful journey of advancing female philanthropy with practical data techniques and engagement strategies.

In the presentation, I drew from some survey data that was informally and unscientifically collected, collated and analyzed by yours truly. Here are some highlights about what you shared with me.

Missing Women’s Report 

For prospect development and fundraising professionals, prioritizing or at least including her in prospect research profiles and prospect portfolios formed a prominent theme:

“Put her information first in a profile, and his in the spouse section.”

“Get over the discomfort of estimating non-visible wealth! Present the household wealth and philanthropic picture, not the single biggest gift.”

“Provide balanced information on a couple. Ensure that women (mothers, daughters, and granddaughters) are included in research. Also, provide some insight into maternal lineage.”

“Strategy should include HER interests and passions. Do not make assumptions on how previous donations were decided.”

Reach Out to Her

I also asked how female fundraisers in particular, can better engage women donors in our respective missions and causes. You shared some practical approaches like:

“It may be beneficial to have two fundraisers at a meeting so a quieter spouse can be drawn out in conversation.”

“Engage women on a one-to-one basis, focus on *her* unique reason for giving; empower her vision for a better world, and honour her decisions.”

“Treat them like individuals, not stereotypical “pink” females; create more social opportunities; advocate for volunteer leadership opportunities.”

Where We Women At?

The notion or concept of invisibility permeated through cautionary (and blunt) statements about marketing / communication and stewardship of women donors:

“Think very carefully before giving an honourary degree to half of a power couple. This could be very insulting to a woman if she doesn’t receive the same recognition.”

“I am very sensitive to the images that we use in fundraising materials; recognize that we use a lot of unbearably paternalistic poses of masculine elder and eager student.”

“Seriously stop it with the old white dudes holding giant cheques.”

Broader Problems

Many survey respondents are not optimistic that the fundraising and philanthropic communities will make steady strides soon, pointing to systemic issues in gender parity:

“It looks like a few women are going to have to set big examples to get noticed. Right now major gifts are usually credited to a couple or a family even if a woman prompted it.”

“Unfortunately, much needs to be done to educate fundraisers that they need to do a better job of reaching out to all prospective donors, regardless of gender. I’m not optimistic that there will be major advances in women’s philanthropy anytime soon.”

“Advancing women’s philanthropy” is closely tied to “advancing women” — this issue is part of a much bigger problem of how we view and treat women, and women of different backgrounds, races, gender identities, etc.”

Your care and commitment to this topic shone through, dear survey respondents, so thank you so much for participating!

~~~

I’m heartened by the thoughtful questions and comments CPRA attendees shared with me about women’s philanthropy at last week’s conference. It’s clear many are already thinking about how to unravel conventional data practices that have literally hidden women’s contributions to their respective organizations. I suggested a full and thorough data audit using a gender lens, covering wide aspects of fund development operations – donations processing, donor communication rules, formal research, prospect portfolios, and stewardship practices. It takes more work, but it’s clearly worth understanding women’s contributions to your organization; a critical piece in better understanding our donor bases of strong support. 

As always, would you please care to comment on this post? Our community is stronger with information exchange and dialogue. THANK YOU!

We’re at the Non-Profit Top. Or Not?

Vanessa Chase Lockshin

Like you, I like lists. The kind that identify powerful, influential – *successful* – people. Something like this: top-paid South Asian technology entrepreneurs living in Vancouver, ranked by annual revenue estimates. Ah yes, those kinds of lists!

So, imagine my pleasant surprise coming across a storytelling non-profit consultant from my very own local network on this list of 30 Under 30, published by BC Business Magazine, last March. I’m referring to female fundraiser extraordinairess Vanessa Chase Lockshin. 

I can’t do Vanessa’s success story cogent justice here in this small space, so I encourage you to look her up and join me in acknowledging (admiring, truly) her career so far. She is 28 so her most successful career days, this prospect researcher predicts, are still ahead of her.

Recently, Vanessa and I reconnected on the topic of gender data and women’s philanthropy. She asked me to be a guest on her popular online show Summer FUNraising, to talk about my time as a prospect development practitioner and to discuss research and fundraising strategies that promote women’s giving across different non-profit types.

You can view our 35-minute segment here.

Vanessa is well-placed to facilitate this topical conversation based on her own social advocacy at #FundraisingIsFemale. She is clearly passionate about empowering female fundraisers to lead and grow non-profit organizations and institutions, while many of our industry counterparts shy away from this issue.

And we so very much need her voice right now, especially given recent reports that show slow (practically stunted) progress for female leaders in our sector. One example hails from Council on Foundations, who just released some sobering results in The State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector. The download is accessible here. (I warn you, this report’s findings are depressing.)

How is it possible that, in an industry dominated by competent, creative and strategic female staff, we still struggle to identify, promote and appreciate women at the upper echelon level? It forms the heart of a difficult but critical conversation. Cheers to Vanessa Chase Lockshin for courageously carrying on this conversation with me and you.

Related News:

Roxanne Scott, “If Women Rule the Fundraising Game, Why Don’t They Hold More Top Positions?” 89.3 WFPL Online, January 31, 2017 – http://wfpl.org/women-rule-fundraising-game-dont-hold-top-positions/