Creating a community and why it’s important

At Fundraising Direct, we have been champions of donor-centric mission-driven fundraising for the last decade since we first set up in Canada. At the centre of every fundraising strategy is the donor – we strive to improve their experience, make their lives simple, make them the catalyst for change, and get the gift.

But…. As the recipients of our strategy shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen Z, we are seeing a fundamental shift in the fundraising landscape. Donors are no longer followers of institutions. Now it’s more about the issues and the focus has shifted from the individual to the collective. We are seeing a preference for donor-centric being replaced by an embrace of community-focused.

With Millennials now making up 27% of the Canadian population and Gen Z quickly becoming the most socially conscious generation, ensuring your organization is prepared for this shift in philanthropy is critical to sustainability and long-term success.

Here we are choosing to distinguish community-focused from another popular movement in fundraising – community-centric. Community-centric fundraising looks at the role of fundraising in social justice and equity, while what we want to look at today is a style of engagement with our donors.

Here are the ways in which you can facilitate a shift towards community-focused fundraising:

“We” vs. “You”

One of the most basic distinctions between donor-centric and community-centric fundraising is the use of “We” vs. “You”. Using “we” makes the donor part of a community that includes both supporters, advocates, and beneficiaries.

Partnership over sponsorship

The aim of our communication with donors should be to make them understand their role in collective action, while their part is integral, they are one of many who make the mission possible.

Effective Storytelling

only effective if it is used as part of an overall impactful story. In the context of community-focused, not only should our language shift away from the impact of the individual to the collective, but the mission of institutions and brands should take a back seat to social issues.

Use of Images

If we aim to create a community that includes, donors, organizations, and beneficiaries, the images we chose to use on our appeal materials websites and social media should reflect that. Often traditional fundraising images can reinforce stereotypes and “othering” of beneficiaries. Be deliberate in your choice of images and ensure they reflect the broader community that makes your mission possible.

If you want to learn more about how to make your communications more community-focused, drop us an email at: