Philanthropy, Not Fundraising
I’m going to go out on a limb here and make an assumption. Here goes: Your goal is to attract supporters and invest in long-term relationships that will sustain your mission. If your goal is different, read no further. Otherwise… carry on.
Let’s begin with a story. Once upon a time I worked for a nonprofit that had heated debates about whether we really needed a website. Doesn’t it seem quaint that nonprofits used to wonder if they really needed websites? In a multichannel world, where people get their information from a variety of sources, playing the social media game is just as important as setting up a website, sending out press releases, and mailing out fundraising appeals. In fact, it’s probably more important given the digital revolution which has completely disrupted ‘business as usual.’
Here’s the deal. Like it or hate it, your potential supporters are on a journey – towards you or away from you – whether you know it or not. And when they see you, they see only ONE you. Not your separate departments. Not just your website or just your newsletter or just your direct mail appeal or just your Facebook page or Twitter account. No, they’re privy to everything and everyone associated with your organization. That’s why every strategy in which you engage, and every channel where you have a presence, should complement one another to deliver against your target constituent’s desired experience and/or your brand promise. This is the only way to optimize the journey so that when they get to the right moment – that point where they’ll be aware enough, interested enough, engaged enough to act – they will be predisposed to do so.
People no longer follow a linear path towards engagement. The digital revolution has changed all that. People are not only more informed, their expectations have matured. They’re incredibly connected, which means they learn about you and your competitors differently than they did in the past. They are influenced and in turn influence others.
You can’t control this.
But you too have influence. And that influence lies in doing what you can to engage folks. This means, first and foremost, being interesting. Did you ever take a bus tour in a foreign city? The best ones have interesting, informative and entertaining guides who tell stories, offer amusing anecdotes and provide a fount of useful information to help you plan the rest of your stay.
Think of yourself as an engagement journey guide. You want your constituents to stay and enjoy. Engagement is as much art as it is science.
This is the 10th post in the Philanthropy, Not Fundraising series — exploring the ways in which the former is transformational and donor-centric while the latter is merely transactional. Let me know what you think!
You can move from transaction to transformation by applying the Clairification Keys to Unlock Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Potential . Check out this SPECIAL GUIDE with easy-to-follow worksheets and exercises to get you – and your supporters – on the journey towards more meaningful engagement.
As always, feel free to contact me!