Contact Mazarine: (503) 673-FUND (3863)

The Fundraising Art of War?

2 October 2014

Comments:

Off
 October 2, 2014
 Off
Category: Book, Marketing

sun_tzu_general

How can you use Sun Tzu’s Art of War for your nonprofit?

Recently I bought a book called The Art of War plus the Art of Marketing by Sun Tzu and Gary Gagliardi.

I had never read the art of war, so I didn’t know what to expect. Frankly, it sounded like a marketer making something up to sell more books.

I was intrigued by this book recently as I was browsing Powell’s bookstore here in Portland, and picked it up to make fun of it basically. Do you ever do that? Pick something up in a bookstore, I mean, just to see how silly it will be?

Usually it is exactly as silly as I think it will be, but when I started reading this book, I realized it was actually very useful for nonprofit marketing and fundraising.

How?

Read on. I’ve taken Sun Tzu’s words, Gary Gigliardi’s words, and then added my own interpretation for fundraising on the right hand side.

Types of Terrain
 
Sun Tzu writes,“Do the right thing when you don’t know your different enemies’ plans. Don’t attempt to meet them.
 
You don’t know the position of mountain forests, dangerous obstructions, and reservoirs?
 
Then you cannot march the army.
 
You don’t have local guides?

You won’t get any of the benefits of the terrain.”

How does this apply in the marketing world?
 
“Do the right thing when you do not understand the customer’s thinking. Do not try to win their market segment.You do not understand the target customer’s buying habits, tastes, and needs?
 
Then you cannot start a marketing campaign.
You do not contact people who know the market?
You will not know your customer’s thinking or needs.”
How does this apply to the fundraising world?

“Do the right thing when you do not understand your donor’s thinking. Do not try to win the donors.
 
You do not understand their donating habits, tastes, or needs?
Then you cannot start a fundraising campaign.
You do not survey your donors or talk with your most loyal supporters?
You will not know your donor’s thinking or needs.”

What can you take from Sun Tzu’s Types of Terrain?

Are you thinking that all of your donors are the same?

They aren’t. They are all very different and they have different reasons for being involved with you. Do you know what those reasons are?

Have you surveyed your donors recently?

NO? Then you don’t know your donors. You need to be surveying at least once a year, asking people,

  • How do you like to be acknowledged for your donation?
  • What do you think of our senior services program?
  • What do you think of our fundraising program? How can we do better?
  • How often would you like us to solicit you?

 

You’ve got to understand your donor’s habits, tastes, and needs. Once you survey your donors, you will get a better understanding of how you can keep them happy, and keep them donating over and over to you. They are your “local guides.”

Attacking with Fire 
Sun Tzu said, “There are five ways of attacking with fire.
The first is burning troops.
The second is burning supplies.
The third is burning supply transport.
The fourth is burning storehouses.
The fifth is burning camps.To make fire, you must have the resources.
To build a fire, you must prepare the raw materials.To attack with fire, you must be in the right season.
 
To start a fire, you must have the time.Choose the right season. The weather must be dry.Choose the right time.
Pick a season when the grass is as high as the side of a cart.

You can tell the proper days by the stars in the night sky.
You want days when the wind rises in the morning.

There are five categories of market desires.
 

  1. The need for safety.
  2. The need for comfort.
  3. The need for prestige.
  4. The need for gain.
  5. The need for affection.

 

To address market desires, you must offer a brand identity

To stimulate desire, you must know the market’s needs.To target a desire, your customers must feel it.
 
To fulfill a desire, you must take your time.”Understand your customers season”
Campaign when the customer is feeling his need.

Be careful of your timing.
 
Pick a time when your customer will be buying.
To know the right time, analyze your market research data
Pick a time when pressure is building.

There are five categories of donor desires
 

  1. The need for ensuring the safety of the community
  2. The need for ensuring the comfort of the community.
  3. The need for recognition for their contribution to the community.
  4. The need for connections through your nonprofit.
  5. The need for donor love, to feel a connection to you and your nonprofit.

 

To address donor desires, you must offer a brand identity.
To stimulate desire, you must know your donor’s needs.
 
To target a desire, your donors must feel it.
To fulfill a desire, you must communicate over time with your donors.Understand your donor’s season.
Campaign when your donor is thinking about giving.
 
Be careful of your timing.
Pick a time when people are thinking of donating.
To know the right time, analyze your market research data
Pick a time when pressure is building.

 

I want to call your attention to my re-interpretation of Sun Tzu here. Remember this last stanza.

Be careful of your timing.
Pick a time when people are thinking of donating.
To know the right time, analyze your market research data
Pick a time when pressure is building.

Speaking of timing, why was the ice bucket challenge so successful?
PRESSURE WAS BUILDING.

When is another good time for you to ask for donations?

Right now. People have a donation habit to give at the end of the year. And pressure is building to finish things before the year end.

But the end of the year is not the only time. Take a look at the diagram below and see what other times of years are good for donations for your particular kind of cause.  This is market research data for you.

According to Blackbaud’s report, people give most in the last half of the year. Proof!

end-of-year-giving

Sun Tzu writes:
 We say,
“A wise leader plans success.
A good general studies it.
If there is little to be gained, don’t act.
If there is little to win, do not use your men.
If there is no danger, don’t fight.
This much is true:
 
If you are smart, you focus to win target customers.
If you are clever, you examine past successes.
If a market does not move you forward, do not target it.
If it cannot be profitable, do not waste your resources.
If the target customers lack real desire, do not sell to them.
This much is true in the fundraising world.
 
If you are smart, find people who have a reason to care about your cause.
If you are clever, you examine past successes.
If a company or individual rejects your friendliness, let them go.
If it cannot bring you donations or relationships, do not waste your attention.
If the potential donors are not really interested in your cause, do not ask them to donate.

Are you smart?

Have you analyzed your past successes and failures?

Are you planning for success for next year?

If not, guess what? I have a course to help you plan your fundraising for 2015.

fundraising plan

Comments are closed.