Does fundraising deliberately distance itself from the truth?

April describes herself as a loyal Baltimore Raven’s fan and a lover of all things philanthropy, equity, and social justice. Our conversation today on The Fundraising Talent Podcast began with the assertion that fundraising has deliberately distanced itself from the truth and begs the question of what would happen if we were more honest with ourselves and our donors. April wants us to confront the fact that we are taught to be ok with the disconnect between reality and the narrative we tell the world. Perhaps our appeal letters are some of the most obvious examples of such deceit. April pointed out that our dishonesty amounts to a lack of authenticity and an obsession with jargon.

April’s career has afforded her experiences on both sides of the shop, both raising major gifts and administrating programs. Having the advantage of multiple vantage points, she understands why it’s so easy to tolerate a story that isn’t true. But it isn’t just those of us on the receiving side who are telling a tale. April pointed out that our funders aren’t telling themselves a story that is any more accurate than ours. After discussing what is true and what isn’t, and contemplating how this translates into the experiences of women of color, our conversation ended in much the same place as it began. Those on both sides of the exchange need to insist on the truth. The question remains, who has the desire to tell it?

As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. And, if you’d like to download Responsive’s latest edition of Carefully & Critically, just click here.

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