The Power of Centering Community in Fundraising

February 29, 2024

By Roxanne Gossard (Director of Development) & Emily Tomita (Associate Director of Development)

Greetings from the Neighborhood House Development Team’s new leaders! We are Roxanne (she/her) and Emily (she/her), and we are honored to have the responsibility of leading our agency’s efforts to build our community of supporters, grow awareness of the amazing work Neighborhood House does, and raise funds to achieve our mission. Thank you for being here and making time to read this article.

A few years back, the Neighborhood House Development Team decided to commit to an emerging fundraising approach called Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF). CCF is a fundraising model that is grounded in equity and social justice; it prioritizes the needs and wants of community members, instead of centering the needs and wants of donors.

To help us stay accountable to a community-centric approach, we regularly reflect on CCF’s 10 Principles to consider how our actions can better align with the CCF model. We believe the mission of CCF is aligned with Neighborhood House’s mission, vision, and values, and we hope to integrate the 10 principles into our development and communications practices.

Of the 10 principles (which you should definitely check out!), here are two that particularly resonate with us:

  • “Principle #8: We promote the understanding that everyone (donors, staff, funders, board members, volunteers) personally benefits from engaging in the work of social justice – it’s not just charity and compassion.”

    The work that Neighborhood House does improves the lives of everyone, not just the individuals and families who directly participate in programs or services. I know that my family and I are healthier and safer when the children around me have access to high quality early learning programs, when young people have welcoming and inclusive afterschool programs to attend, and when my neighbors get assistance to stay in their homes and age in place. – Emily
  • “Principle #7: We foster a sense of belonging, not othering.”

    Traditional fundraising practices center the donor, often creating a divide that can be hard to bridge. Our donors are fantastic, and we love them! AND we also love our program participants, volunteers, staff and all who join with us in pursuit of our mission and vision. Honoring, respecting and encouraging the participation of all stakeholders in raising funds and awareness is key. We are always stronger when we work together and draw on the unique strengths we all bring. – Roxanne

As the Development Team continues to learn and grow in our embrace of CCF we invite you to join us on the journey. We welcome questions, ideas, critiques and partnership.