Fundraising. Development. More often than not, when people hear these terms, their reactions range somewhere on the spectrum from “necessary evil” to “begging” to “selling.” In other cases, these terms conjure up notions of “the office that prints money in the basement.”
While you may have found yourself thinking any or all of these things at some point during your life in Mercy, the development professionals across the Institute invite you, and all of the Mercy community, to take another look with us in this article at our assumptions about the role of development in Mercy’s present and future.
Fund development? Fund raising? What’s the difference?
While the terms “fundraising” and “fund development” are often used interchangeably, there are important distinctions between them.
Casual observers equate the development office with fundraising, pure and simple. However, fund development is much more than that. Fund development is not only concerned with raising money, but in doing so in a way that builds long-term sustainable relationships to ensure that the organization’s mission and vision are realized. In the broadest sense, fund development moves the institution forward, whereas fundraising is a tactic used to bring such plans to fruition.
Fundraising, as opposed to fund development, refers to the particular strategies and techniques used to ensure that contributed income (i.e. donations) is raised within an overall strategy for fund development. Fundraising usually involves asking people for donations, using a variety of methods. For instance, a particular strategy might be a direct, in-person request of a donor, a direct mail appeal or a special event.
Aside from these distinctions it is also important to remember that fund development is not a separate and independent activity that can be pulled out whenever there is a need, focused on by only a few, and ignored the rest of the time. It is an ongoing, rewarding process that engages and affects the entire organization. Fund development is about more than raising money — it is about building stronger relationships, helping people connect with an organization and its mission. And it is fund development, rather than fund raising, that makes philanthropy possible by bringing together a particular cause and particular donors willing to support/give to that cause.