Social relationships discussion
Jeffrey Walker came to the world of philanthropy from a successful career in business. For 25 years, he was CEO and co-founder of the $12 billion private equity firm, JPMorgan Partners. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards, and for the last several years, devoted most of his time to bringing his active investor skills to the philanthropy, nonprofit, and social enterprise spaces.
He recently co-authored a book with Jennifer McCrea, The Generosity Network: New Transformational Tools for Successful Fund-Raising, which aims to energize and empower nonprofit leaders, managers, donors, board members, and other supporters. The authors illustrate how traditional donor-grantee relationships can lead to anxiety and failure, while open-spirited and personal connections lead to discovery, growth, and often amazing results. Building on the book’s themes, Jeff discusses ways individual donors and organizations need to adapt their mindsets to focus on building personal relationships and creating networks in order to be more effective with their philanthropy.
Liz London and Alex Goldmark: In your new book, you push back against transactional fundraising with dollar targets, and suggest that deep listening, curiosity, and connections of passion should guide philanthropy. Can you share an example of how this approach allowed a board to adapt?
First, I am not against setting targets, but boards should do so with a much bigger picture than just “hitting the numbers” in mind. Instead of focusing on the transaction, build long-term relationships. Transformational fundraising comes from deepening the discussion between donors and grantees. Grantees need to treat each donor as a unique resource and passionate partner, not just a bank. This shift will unlock many resources that organizations can use to accomplish goals.
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