How is it changing?
Well, say goodbye to churn and burn. Donors are more demanding and fickle than ever. So what do we do about it?
I read this book, Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity the other day, and I thought it had a lot to say about where we are, and where we’re going.
We may think, “Well, there will always be a need for fundraising, and if I just work a BIT HARDER then things will pay off!”
Well, not really. Because even if this hasn’t happened to you, personally, you know someone who has worked hard and stayed in the same admin position for years.
Or you know someone who worked their butt off and got fired anyway.
Or got laid off.
Or decided that fundraising was too hard and they wanted to do something else for a change. And fundraising has to change. Why?
Because a lot of people are poor and getting poorer. Because the world is changing. Because donors expect more transparency, and more results-based reporting from us.
And even if we think we can stay in the nonprofit world and business realities don’t have to touch us, we are wrong. The people who sit on our boards, the people who give to our causes have to live in this reality where people are focused on transparency and results. And thus it is becoming our reality.
This is my favorite mini-chapter from Hugh McLeod’s book, Ignore Everybody. He writes,
“The World is Changing
Your job is probably worth 50 percent of what it was in real terms 10 years ago. And it may very well not exist in 5 to 10 years.
We all saw the traditional biz model in my former industry, advertising, start going down the tubes ten years or so ago. Our first reaction was “work harder.”
It didn’t work. People got shafted by the thousands. It’s a cold world out there. We thought being talented would save our asses. We thought working late and on weekends would save our asses. Nope.
We thought the internet and all that Next Big Thing, new media and new technology stuff would save our asses. We thought it would fill the holes in the ever more intellectually bankrupt solutions we were offering our clients. Nope.
Whatever. Regardless of how the world changes, regardless of what new technologies, business models, and social architectures are coming down the pike, the one thing The New Realities cannot take away from you is trust.
The people you trust and vice versa are what will feed you and pay for your kids college. Nothing else.
In other words: Stop worrying about technology. Start worrying about people who trust you.
In order to navigate the New Realities you have to be creative-not just within your particular profession, but in everything. Your way of looking at the world will need to become ever more fertile and original. . . .
-Hugh McLeod of GapingVoid.com”
Here’s how we apply this to fundraising.
Fundraising is about donors trusting you. You know it, I know it. If the donors don’t trust you, why not?
What would make them trust you more?
- It’s not just about building a better appeal letter.
- It’s not about your event.
- It’s not just about your thank you letters.
It’s about the entire process. How do people come to trust you? How do you create systems to get people to trust you?
Is it about a dashboard, where they can see all of your numbers?
Is it about your stories, and how convincing/heartwarming they are?
Is it about making your donor the hero in all of your communications, showing them how much you care?
What if it’s about all of these things?
Where do we go from here?