“Transformational philanthropy” was the focus of a December 6 webinar sponsored by the In Trust Center and presented by Aimée Laramore, director of advancement at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and owner/lead consultant at ALlyd Solutions.

“What is going on at your institution that is exciting or amazing?” she asked. Laramore stressed the importance for board members to engage in conversations with prospective donors and communicate the vision of their institutions and schools. “Fundraising is exactly the opposite of begging. Rather, we are declaring we have a vision that is amazing and exciting.

“The ability to talk to others and to connect the school to venues, people, and resources that it might not otherwise have access to is an essential characteristic of a good board member,” she said. Attracting, cultivating, and retaining donors is really an obligation of every stakeholder, including board members, she stressed.

Laramore encouraged board members to use their networks to find prospective donors and engage them in conversations by asking these questions: What are your earliest memories of giving? Where did you learn to give? Who is your philanthropic hero? Who has inspired you to be a donor? When have you experienced radical generosity? When have you been a recipient of radical generosity?

These questions will encourage donors to move beyond “comfortable guilt,” which she says means “giving just enough to make you go away.” She suggests starting each board or subcommittee meeting by asking a member to give a brief, personal testimony of how he or she has been able to share the school’s mission or vision. “We talk about time, talent, and treasure so much that sometimes people forget an important fourth “T,” which is testimony.”

She recommends these resources for board members: A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri J.M. Nouwen and Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists by Valaida Fullwood.  

The webinar is now available on demand.