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Fundraising As Social Change

“If there was ever a time for fundraising professionals and social change advocates to work together, this is it. Philanthropy can be a powerful tool for social change, but we must all pull together,” said Ligia Peña, M.Sc., CFRE, global legacy manager at Greenpeace International in Quebec, Canada.

“While organizations work to address a multitude of issues in communities around the globe, fundraising often is viewed as a ‘necessary evil’ — an uncomfortable strategy to get money to do great work,” she said. “Haven’t you heard this around the dinner table or in the boardroom? What if you were to shift the paradigm and leverage fundraising as a tool for social change? What would the world look like?”

Kim Klein, principal at Klein & Roth Consulting in Oakland, Calif.; Cathy Mann, MA, CFRE, president of Cathy Mann & Associates in Toronto; Andréa Medina Rosas, a human rights lawyer and independent consultant in Mexico; and Peña answer those questions and more in their session “Fundraising for Social Change, Fundraising As Social Change.” It was part of the “Rebels, Renegades and Pioneers” track at the AFP International Fundraising Conference.

They address such topics as the difference — if any — between social justice and social change, the key elements of socially just fundraising, the engagement level of the philanthropic sector and the business of fundraising in advancing social change in the United States, Canada and Mexico and around the globe.

“Whether you are an executive director, board member, program director or development professional, you have the opportunity to question and challenge your current notions of equality/equity, justice/injustice and the sometimes the disproportionate focus on major gifts as agents of social change,” Peña said.

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