#37 | Are patriarchy and pedestals to blame for fundraising’s bad behaviors?

Maryann Kerr will tell you that she’s on a mission to create well-led, kinder, collaborative, inclusive and diverse workplaces where productivity is high and turnover is low. My recent podcast conversation with Maryann left me with a list of difficult questions to further contemplate. At the top of the list: Are patriarchy and the pedestals that we often afford each other to blame for many of fundraising’s bad behaviors?

In our conversation, it occurred to me that many of the skills we most want fundraising professionals to exhibit are learned from our mothers rather than our fathers. Many of us are advocating for a profession that is less about command and control, ensures genuine conversations, and leans in rather than avoids the messiness of meaningful relationships.

Maryann also had me wrestling with my routine use of the term “rock star” to characterize talented fundraisers. Is this an example of how we have constructed pedestals that inevitably create an inferior/superior relationship between two individuals or groups. While our profession is in the midst of its messy adolescence, are these pedestals examples of Adler’s “striving for superiority” - a defense mechanism to compensate for an inferiority complex that we can’t seem to break?

How Fundraising Really Works Roadshow

We are very grateful to David Hutchinson and the team at Cause Leadership for partnering with us to bring How Fundraising Really Works to Toronto. Later this month, (Thursday, February 28th) we will be at the National Club in downtown Toronto. Seating is always limited to 40 for these events so please register early. Looking further down the road, we have already confirmed dates in Philadelphia, Raleigh, Washington DC, Worcester, MA and NYC. If you’d like to get more information about these upcoming roadshow dates, go to my website at lewisfundraising.com/events

As a reminder, if you’d like to be a guest on The Fundraising Talent Podcast, visit lewisfundraising.com/signup

Jason Lewis