If we practiced medicine like we currently practice fundraising, where decade-old practices seem to persist no matter what, then such tried and true practices like the lobotomy and bloodletting would still be in use.
Luckily, the remarkable amount of medical research over the last century has allowed solid scientific fact to prevail.
Sadly, neither the funding nor the incentive has been there for even a fraction of such research within the field of professional fundraising.
The time has come for true research in fundraising practices
Indeed, there have been a few pockets of bona fide research into professional fundraising practices. But the majority of this type of research has been focused on the quantity and quality of charitable giving in each particular segment of the sector, as well as how well those gifts are being retained. Unfortunately, this research neither confirms nor denies what truly works in fundraising (and why it works).
Proper research into the why and how of fundraising best practices has the potential to elevate the funding of charities worldwide!
Hope for the future
Bloomerang is proud to be participating in several best practices research projects, (whose results will soon be announced) with an exciting new entity: the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy.
If one or both of them isn’t familiar to you, they should be. They have literally written the book (or should I say books) on donor retention and donor engagement!
Then add others such as Ian Macquillin and Stephen Pidgeon, along with a board comprised of many of the most experienced leaders in fundraising, to create the foundation for digging into the most pressing topics professional fundraisers face.
The goal of the center and its board is to produce a modern generation of in-depth, scientifically-oriented best practices into what truly works in fundraising. Hopefully, they will unseat the traditional tactics and philosophies that have merely been handed down over the years without a great deal of scrutiny.
I, for one, am so excited about the potential this new flagship of research can bring to our field of philanthropy.
Perhaps many of the pressing issues the missions of thousands of charities strive to solve daily will be resolved once and for all!