The Integral Nature of Mission | Blog Post #4

Share a story, thought, etc. from your internship

My greater understanding of fundraising as a whole, developed through my experiences in D-SIP so far,  all seem to filter through the topic of “Mission”. It seems to be everywhere in this internship experience. It is plastered on the walls of the Hands-On Museum. It’s been iterated by each visiting guest speaker. At first, the importance of the Mission seemed elementary, and intuitive. I thought “of course you need to know who you are and your mission. Who it relates to, and why your mission is important, duh!”, but that is without the empathy/understanding of organizations specifically, especially given how new the field of fundraising is a whole. Before DSIP, I didn’t understand how complex development can be, specifically within internal operations and the consequences of such large, interconnected departments within Michigan development, each with different objectives. The relationships between donors and the benefiting organizations can be expansive and complicated, as are the needs between the two actors. The rigid structure of development departments seems to be an attempted fix for these issues, and thus standardization would be key to avoid conflicts.

Fundraising is at its best when there are no ulterior motives by the donor or fundraiser. That is, a complete understanding (or enmeshing) of purpose. This would result in needs-based allocation of funds, effectively redistributing wealth in an ethical way. This means that fundraisers are solely existing to connect donors to the right uses of their funds (as opposed to trying to win funds for their department/just trying to secure the donor for their own accomplishment), and donors are solely trying to make the world a better place in the areas they are most passionate about or are the most needy (as opposed to trying to win themselves community respect/get a building named after themselves). I don’t know where our current state of philanthropy is . . . I don’t have enough experience in the field yet. But hopefully, with the right people and professionals, we can accomplish strive towards better practices.

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