“Community” in Fundraising Practice: Meanings, Mechanisms, & Metaphors

Friday, February 7 2020 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex (KIRC)
Room 1130

Ruth Hansen, Assistant Professor, Management, UW-Whitewater (HBI Faculty Affiliate)

This study uses qualitative content analysis to better understand how the individuals raising funds for charities understand the meaning of “community,” especially regarding the relationship of the organization to its donors and its clients, and how they incorporate this understanding into the practice of fundraising.  By juxtaposing analysis of appeal letters (actual work products) and interviews, it examines both how fundraisers think and speak about “community” in the process of writing, and how the concept is used in expressed behavior.

“Community” is used to convey several distinct meanings, some of which are inclusive, some of which exclude.  It often has an aspect of interdependence.  The presentation will discuss the meanings and mechanisms of “community” identified, along with a popular metaphor, furthering the understanding of fundraising practice and its embeddedness within social norms.