We need to have a serious conversation about “Donor Love.”

Written by Vu Le

Hi everyone, this post will likely generate some vigorous discussions, but before we launch into it, I have an exciting announcement. Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) is seeking to form a Global Council to lead the movement. I and other founding council members will step aside and play a supporting role, because it’s important for the movement to have leadership that is diverse in geography and lived experience. Details and application here. Don’t worry, the founding council members are not going anywhere; we will each get a cloak to mark us as elders, and we’ll be around, providing moral support and, when appropriate, snacks.

As today is Valentine’s Day, a lot of us will be pondering the age-old question famously asked by philosopher Haddaway: “What is love?” to which he added as a corollary, “Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.”

Yes, we have been “operating in an upside-down or inside-out fashion for far too long.” But it is not what the author of this book thinks. Chief among the problems with the way we’ve been trained to center donors’ emotions and comfort is the fact that most donors are white, and so much wealth has been built on white supremacy and inequity, and we have an entire field trained to tell mostly white people that they are heroes who should be coddled and “loved.” And over time, rich, mostly white people start expecting and now demanding to be treated this way. How do we mitigate white supremacy when we keep perpetuating it through our every day practices?

It can be difficult to grasp just how problematic this is, so let me put it this way…

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Vu Le