The Goldie Company

A Little History Lesson

Thursday June 28, 2012

Gordon L. Goldie, CFRE – (b. August 12, 1925 in Montréal, Québec) An influential and groundbreaking fundraising consultant who has served various organizations within the non-profit sector throughout Canada. Goldie has also served on numerous boards and was the Founder and first President of the Communications and Public Relations Foundation.

Gordon Goldie started out on another path before finding his true calling. Goldie moved with his family to Toronto when he was two years old. Immediately after graduating high school, he joined the Toronto Star as a copy boy. Several years later, he teamed up with his brother, Doug, and a colleague to buy the Geraldton Times-Star, where Goldie spent five years as both reporter and editor.

After selling his share of the business, he returned to Toronto where he met George Brakeley Jr., who first introduced Goldie to fundraising. He worked with Brakeley for more than 10 years before launching Gordon L. Goldie Company Ltd.

Since 1965, The Goldie Company has helped hospitals, universities, colleges, churches, cultural, environmental, social service and other community organizations raise funds for thousands of undertakings—from major construction projects for large institutions to renovations for beloved, small-town buildings and annual funding campaigns for social programming.

Goldie’s fundraising method differed from the customary practice of directly approaching corporations or individuals for campaign donations. Instead, Goldie pioneered the idea of undertaking a “feasibility” or planning study in advance of a campaign, and then recruiting well-connected, senior executives to make calls on their industry peers to ask for contributions. This, then radical, approach met with great success and is now the accepted standard in capital campaign fundraising practice.

In a 1980 Toronto Star interview, Goldie said that a fundraiser “requires a certain amount of presence, which takes time to acquire.” Acquire he did. Over the years, he led some of the biggest fundraising campaigns of his day—first mainly with clients in the Toronto area, then, as the company expanded, throughout Canada. He has managed Capital Campaigns for Brock University, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, Roy Thomson Hall, Hamilton Place, Kitchener Centre in the Square, St. Lawrence Centre, Toronto General Hospital, University of Waterloo, Carleton University, Stratford Shakespearean Festival, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Canadian Red Cross, Ridley College, St. Andrews College and the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Goldie is the author of “Paying for the Piper: A Fundraising Manual for Non-Profit Organizations” The first edition of this manual was published in 1969, (under the title “Paying the Piper”) and at a time when private sector fundraising for the arts was very much in its infancy in Canada. Professionalism in arts fundraising was virtually non-existent, and the concept of business sponsorship had not yet burst upon the scene. The (then named) Province of Ontario Council for the Arts supplied a grant for the publication and printing of a self-help, do-it-yourself fundraising primer.

“Paying the Piper” was the first such manual published anywhere, and the several thousand first-edition copies proved to be in even greater demand in the U.S. (2,000 copies were ordered by the New York State Arts Council) than in Canada. A dozen years later, a second-edition of 2,500 copies was printed and by the spring of 1989, it too was sold out and the demand was still unabated.
In the past two decades, the non-profit sector has seen an extraordinary advancement in fundraising. According to Goldie, “the biggest changes are within the refinement of fundraising techniques and in the increased professionalism of fundraising practitioners.” The amounts to be raised have soared into the millions and many volunteer boards are now being recruited primarily for their willingness and ability “to give and to get.”

In the third edition, (published in 1991) Parts Two, Three and the Supplement section provide an updated account of fundraising information, as well as recommendations and guidelines on which organizations of all sizes can draw in preparing for, organizing and conducting various types of appeals – large and small, annual, capital, special projects and other undertakings. The manual also contains a number of detailed programs of use to aid established, high-profile organizations with full-time development staffs and extensive fundraising experience, but is also designed to serve both medium and smaller-sized groups with fewer resources. Originally prepared as a do-it-yourself handbook for symphony orchestras, it is also equally pertinent to other arts organizations and community groups that require voluntary gift support to maintain their growth and operations.

In the early 1990s, Goldie decided the moment had come to take a little time for himself and his family. So, he relocated to Kelowna, British Columbia and is enjoying retirement living.