The vocabulary nonprofits use when fundraising is counterproductive to their efforts at fundraising.
There is often a difference in the mentality of for-profit and non-profit social enterprises when it comes to fundraising. For many non-profits that rely heavily on philanthropic funding, the mentality is often dominated by being a taker of money, not a giver of value. The standard language is “asking for money” and “chasing” people named “donors” who “give.”
The whole dynamic is structured around the non-profit being this passive recipient of someone’s generosity. This is dumb. Not only does it perpetuate an unhelpful power-imbalance, but more importantly, it reinforces a warped view of how non-profits see themselves: as a fortunate beneficiary.
Regardless of legal status, social ventures are creating tremendous value measured in social impact. There is an impact return on investment. The conversation and dynamic change when a non-profit partners with a philanthropic donor to activate their intention for impact by generating a social return for their capital: “With a $100,000 investment (not donation), you will be partnering (not giving) to X non-profit to create 2,000 jobs. From a ‘unit economics of impact’ perspective, you’re able to create one job for every $50 you invest in our organization.”