By James Langley
Higher ed fundraising can’t keep doubling down on ineffective practices. We can’t keep hoping donors give. Instead, we need to give donors hope.
We need to adapt to new philanthropic realities in higher education, both to avoid wasteful, depletive fundraising and to optimize our institutions ability to produce more significant, sustainable fundraising results. This will require rethinking how we organize ourselves at every level, including the board, executive team, and advancement operation. In the largest sense, what we must be most attentive to going forward is what we’ve been inattentive to in the past: the growing gap between what institutions wanted and hoped for from their donors and what donors wanted and hoped for from schools, colleges and universities.
In The Future of Fundraising, James M. Langley describes the changing philanthropic behaviors and expectations of our donors, then details the strategies and tactics that will allow fundraising operations and institutions to detect and catch the prevailing winds in their sails and thereby expedite the advancement of their missions and sustain donor trust. Langley contrasts old, increasingly ineffective approaches with current and emerging best practice, unpacking in practical detail how we must organize ourselves and how we must create new models of collaboration to establish a more adaptive craft.
From the author of Fundraising for Presidents and Fundraising for Deans, this new book will challenge, inspire, and empower you to create the conditions at your college or university for more sustainable philanthropic growth.
Reviews for Langley's The Future of Fundraising
"Fundraising, or more importantly, donors have been evolving. COVID-19 has put an exclamation point behind the need for institutions to take a long and hard look at their approach to creating meaningful relationships with a most important stakeholder: donors, alumni and community partners. Jim Langley’s new book not only highlights the changes needed, but he also creates a critical roadmap for academic leaders and advancement professionals to re-center their focus, move their cultures, and humanize their approach to building relationships with generous partners. This is not just a good read, it is a toolkit, an inspiration, and a road forward."
Kathy Drucquer Duff, CFRE
"No one has influenced my perspective on fundraising more than Jim Langley – and this book contains so many reasons why. As advancement professionals, we are too often drawn toward the “tried but untrue”, learning the hard way that many common practices do not actually contribute to donor fulfilment and retention. Jim inspires us to think more clearly about the real value of philanthropy to the donor, the fundraiser, the institution and society. With this book, he ‘fires a shot across the bow’, serving as a timely reminder of the higher purpose of our work and the opportunity to more effectively partner with philanthropic investors to make meaningful community and societal impact."
Peter Fardy, Vice President, Advancement, Dalhousie University
"Jim Langley has done it again. I have long appreciated Jim’s practical, evidence-based, and sensible counsel provided in his other books and via his digital resources. His latest gift, “The Future of Fundraising” adds to his remarkable body of work with rare insight and advice - gained from the field, tested through practical application, and buttressed with research and evaluation. As a practitioner, I will use Jim’s new book as an important resource to inform my strategies moving forward. As an academic, instructing the next generation of non-profit leaders in the Masters of Philanthropy & Non Profit Leadership Program (MPNL) at Carleton University, I will add this comprehensive and pragmatic resource to my list of “required reading”.
Jennifer Conley, MPNL & CFRE, Chief Advancement Officer & President, Carleton University Foundation, Carleton University
"This deeply thoughtful book is a reality check for those of us who call ourselves fundraisers. Jim has not only validated a malaise many of us have had for a while about the misalignment of focus and energy that has become so deeply entrenched in our organizations, but he has also clearly articulated what we need to do to change the status quo. His message of sustainability is particularly powerful at this time, and the priority of his chapters says it all – retaining donors, nurturing and deepening relationships, building responsive cultures, delivering on our missions - all these things need to come long before we can even think about applying “traditional” methods to acquire donors. Even those methods need to undergo a radical transformation. Jim quotes John Kenneth Galbraith’s description of a revolution as “the kicking down of an already rotted door.” This book is a loud and clear call to take action and I’m ready to sign up!"
Peggy Killeen, Development Consultant
"Tomorrow’s philanthropic investors will require a very different execution alchemy that bears little resemblance to past and many current practices. Jim presents compelling evidence and clear examples that should jolt many organizations to this realization."
Ron Cohen, Partner, 2468 Appreciate
“In The Future of Fundraising, Jim Langley lays out a road map for creating a systematic approach to reversing declining donor trends. He walks us through the steps necessary to successfully negotiate the path to positive fundraising results by focusing not simply on donor acquisition, but more importantly on the wishes, perspectives, and desired impact our donors hope to have through their philanthropy.
"By demonstrating the difference between a 'superficial' and 'substantive' approach to fundraising, Jim shows us that effective donor stewardship is the key to building a successful, long-term fundraising program. He provides a unique, thoughtful vision for what fundraising should look like in the future, and how donor-centric stewardship and strategic retention efforts can help us all achieve philanthropic success.”
John A. Feudo, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Reviews for Langley's Fundraising Guides Series
“This is is a treasure trove of great advice, forward-thinking reflections, and the tough, but much needed questions that presidents, boards, vice presidents and deans need to ask one another before embarking on a fundraising campaign. Jim Langley is a thought leader who understands not just the history of philanthropy and advancement but shines a light on where universities need to begin altering practices to thrive in this era of competing philanthropic interests.”
Matthew T. Lambert, Vice President for University Advancement, William & Mary