Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

The responsibility of fundraisers in encouraging philanthropy

JoAuthor: Jo Garner

I have been shocked and disappointed to hear that just the day after news was released of the sad passing of a great entrepreneur, business leader, mentor and philanthropist, Paul Ramsay AO (founder of Ramsay Healthcare), the Paul Ramsay Foundation was receiving calls from nonprofit organisations, enquiring about how to apply for donations and grant funding.

Where do I start?!

First of all, no respect has been shown for those who worked closely with Mr Ramsay, and who were mourning (and will continue to mourn) the loss of their founder and friend.

Secondly, it is unprofessional and inappropriate for nonprofits to call prospective funding sources with no knowledge of the interest areas or the structure in which donations or grants will be made.

Clearly, a Foundation of such substantial size will, in time and in line with its own processes, release information about its intended distribution of funding.

What impression will people involved with the Foundation have of those organisations who have so inappropriately contacted them, before the funeral even took place? This kind of bad practice causes reputational damage that I would think will be very hard to overcome in any future approach.

As professional fundraisers, we have a responsibility to ask for funds from donors respectfully and appropriately, and to leave a strong, positive impression of the role that charitable organisations play in the community. When donors have a positive experience, they are more likely to give again.

To encourage the growth of philanthropy in Australia, we, as professional fundraisers, have a great responsibility to ensure that we are ethical, professional and respectful. We want philanthropists to enjoy giving, not to be deterred.