This is the first comprehensive fundraising textbook written by Canadians for Canadians, and is a must-read for Canadian fundraising professionals. Edited by fundraising great Guy Mallabone (President and CEO, Global Philanthropic Inc.), with each of the 20 chapters written by a different Canadian fundraising expert, the genesis of the book came about from two eminent U.S. fundraising anthologies: Achieving Excellence in Fundraising and The NonProfit Handbook in Fundraising. Because of many differences in philanthropy between the U.S. and Canada, this book was written to be the Canadian go-to source for fundraising.
Excellence in Fundraising in Canada is organized by fundraising topic, including strategic planning, major gifts, online fundraising, board governance and communication, special events, and capital campaigns, etc. This is not a niche book specializing in Canadian discrepancies to supplement traditional (i.e. U.S.) fundraising books. Rather, this is a comprehensive fundraising textbook from a Canadian perspective. So while trends, examples, and tax and privacy laws are based on fundraising in Canada, the principles would be valuable to fundraisers across the globe.
This book aims to be all-inclusive in fundraising topics and, as such, is an excellent first stop for any fundraising questions. Each chapter concludes with a section on where to go for further information. So, if you want to dig into, say, monthly giving, Excellence in Fundraising in Canada will be an excellent place to start, and will point you in the direction of how to continue. While all chapters provide great basic information and serve as at least a starting point, some are more detailed than others.
In some cases, I would like to see more specifics. For example, while the chapter on data management has thought provoking points around what sort of data should be captured and measured, how to determine an organization’s needs, and what to look for in a database, I would also benefit from seeing specific database programs analyzed and rated for their efficacy, unique capabilities, pros, cons, and price. Similarly, specific examples of what a great (or not so great!) grant application might look like would also be helpful.
On the other hand, I find the discussion of the board’s role in fundraising to be very robust. This section builds the case for the board to be involved in fundraising, and does so by using the specific language that can be used when speaking with the board or other stakeholders. The case starts out by stating that the board is legally responsible for all of the organization’s actions, specifically for ensuring that it is complying with laws, staying on track with the mission and strategic direction, and is financially healthy. Next, if fundraising is a “mission critical” revenue source for an organization, then it warrants a strategic approach and an application of all available resources. The board’s approval of and engagement in the fundraising strategy is then a governance responsibility of great importance.
All in all, this book is extremely useful and has earned a permanent space in my office. I’ll leave you with a succinct quote in the book that hits home the age-old why people give and clarifies the role of fundraising—keeping this top-of-mind will inform not only how and to whom asks are made, but also how budgets are set: “Nonprofit organizations exist to fulfill community needs. People do not give because an organization has needs. They give because your organization meets needs.”
Emma Penick, Director of Development, Symphony Nova Scotia
w: (902) 421-1300 x228 m: (902) 441-0835 firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Penick has been involved in development and programming for organizations in the corporate and not-for-profit spheres for the last 10+ years. Most recently, Emma worked in development at Sing for Hope, a New York-based non-profit whose claim to fame is having staged the nation’s largest public art project: 60 painted pianos outdoors for two weeks throughout New York’s five boroughs for all to play. Emma’s background in business includes having been an Associate at Mercer Management Consulting. She also founded EBP Literary Agency. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an A.B. in Sociology from Princeton University. She is originally from Halifax and joined Symphony Nova Scotia in 2010.