When you are sick, you go to the doctor. The doctor advises you on what you need to do in order to return to health. You listen, you follow the instructions, and you get better.
It is not that way with fund development. You look for the qualifications – the MBA, the CFRE, but do you treat them as a professional? Even a Masters Degree in Philanthropy and Fund Development doesn’t do it.
I would say probably not. The fund development professional speaks and we seem to know more. We don’t listen to them. We make statements such as we are all in this together. Their education, their certifications seem to mean not a thing. Everyone seems to know more than the professional themselves.
However, what we seem to forget is that there is a body of knowledge and that there are tested best practices. And, it is the fundraising professional who has kept up to date and on top of this body of knowledge.
While we have come a long way in recognizing fundraising as a profession, we are still not all there yet. It will take fund development professionals standing up and asserting their education, their knowledge, and their expertise. Fund development professionals must assert that there is a professional body of knowledge and they are the practitioners who know this knowledge and apply it.