CNIB’s Philosophy of Fundraising & Philanthropy

The terms "fundraising" and "philanthropy" are often used interchangeably, but they are actually not the same.
Philanthropy is a desire to do good with one's money – it is a motivating force.
Fundraising is the act of raising money, but philanthropy is the motivation that drives donors' decisions to invest.
At CNIB, we do both. We provide people with the opportunity to donate through our fundraising efforts. We also work closely with individuals to help them discover the motivation to invest and to match them to the right programs to meet their needs.

Giving Feels Good!

People give for as many reasons as there are people, but for everyone, there needs to be some sort of benefit. It could be as simple as feeling good about yourself for having helped someone else. Many studies show that people who give without an expectation of a reward are more satisfied with their lives than people who expect payment for their efforts.

Investment in the community

When money donors choose to give to an organization such as CNIB, we must remember that they are making an investment in the community – not solely in CNIB. In that case, each donor is an investor and should be treated as one. Just think about all the research an investor does before deciding on a stock, and the amount of feedback an investor receives about the performance of their investment. Like an investor, the donor needs to see a return on the investment, but in the case of philanthropy, that is measured in outcomes and impact – improvements to the quality of life of the people we serve.
When CNIB raises funds, it is important to remember:
  • The gift is not to CNIB; the gift goes through CNIB to the people we serve. CNIB is the connection or the conduit to the community where the gift is needed.
  • Saying CNIB needs the funds doesn't work. Donors care that the needs of the people we serve are being met – that the work we do creates positive and important results in the community.

The process: values, causes, stories and partnerships

There are so many organizations that try to raise funds. Donors have lots to choose from and we all compete for their attention. At CNIB, we know that people tend to donate to organizations whose values they share.
How do donors choose? It works the same way for individuals and organizations. They need to find the right cause – something that fits with their values. For the process to begin, the cause needs to be clearly stated so that it resonates with people (or organizations) whose values make them receptive.
How do we communicate our values and our cause? We communicate our cause most effectively when we tell the personal stories of the people we serve and the people who give. The stories we share capture the hearts and minds of the people who engage with us, making them want to become characters in the story. Our job is to give them a role in the story and a chance to improve the story's outcome.
Because we are in a partnership with our donors (just as with our volunteers), we understand there is an expectation of dialogue and feedback. We fulfill this by showing donors how their role has changed the story for the better and by offering opportunities for them to do more. We recognize that it isn't about the amount of money – it is about what the money does.
  • We believe that all the people we encounter should be considered as possible partners in giving to the cause – whether they are people in the community, representatives of organizations, volunteers, staff or even clients.
  • We feel proud, not apologetic, when asking – whether it is for money or time or services donated in kind.
  • We believe that we present opportunities, not obligations. We recognize people have a need to give – and we can fulfill their need.
  • We believe in establishing long-term relationships with donors.
  • We understand that people who give need to know the impact of their gifts.
  • We say thank you. Anyone who gives us a gift – whether small or large – will be thanked.
  • We follow the Code of Ethical Standards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.