Philanthropy, Not Fundraising
For too many nonprofits something isn’t working. Change is happening at a rapid pace while people try to employ yesterday’s ‘best practices,’ seeming to work harder and harder to make do with less — while needing to serve more.
Before the digital revolution, an information imbalance existed. This facilitated a one-way ‘push’ model of marketing/fundraising. We could define our own brand and sell it. Guess what? That imbalance is gone. Everyone has access to information now and chances are good that folks are already two-thirds down the path towards engagement with you before you even know they exist! So you’ve got to think not only about them helping you but about you helping them.
How are you going to help your constituents meet their personal goals in a manner that also helps you attain yours? There are two ways I recommend:
1. Inbound, not outbound.
2. Philanthropy, not fundraising.
Inbound, not outbound.
One of the surest ways for your nonprofit to make the culture shift required to shorten the distance between the present and the future is to adopt inbound marketing. And “pull” marketing is very different from “push” marketing.
Think about what made sense – and even seemed “state of the art” a mere decade ago. In Are You Still Marketing Like it’s 2006? Andrew Symes lays out how much out tools, tactics and technologies have changed since then.
- Google was purely “a search engine” and not social media. No one used Google Analytics to track visits to their websites, click-throughs on their blogs or interest areas generating the greatest traffic. Today, you’re able to easily find out not only how many people are visiting your website, but what they are doing once they’re there. You have search engine optimization tools at your fingertips and can generate excellent, actionable data to propose improvements to future campaigns.
- Very few nonprofits used social media, if they even knew what it was. Social media meant “Facebook” and it was something kids did. LinkedIn was just considered an “online resume”. YouTube had just been founded the previous year (I know – it’s hard to believe)! Tweets were the sounds of birds. Today, you’re able to use multiple social platforms – not just to get your message out but to build real-time relationships with your constituents.
- Cell phones were used to make phone calls. Text messaging was new, and only teenagers used it. There was no need to optimize websites or emails for mobile. Today, accessing information on their smart phones is often the first and last thing people do during their day. Nonprofits have to consider how people are viewing their messages, and also how short attention spans are on mobile devices.
- Yellow page ads were a large part of marketing budgets, as were inserts in newspapers and direct mailings. Today you can spend less on “shotgun” marketing and more on targeted approaches.
- Websites were complicated and expensive, and SEO was reserved for tekkies. Today, excellent search-friendly content management platforms such as WordPress make putting your best foot forward accessible for even small nonprofits.
Philanthropy, not fundraising.
Fundraising is transactional. It’s about money. When viewed as being about money fundraising, at best, is seen as an onerous chore; a necessary evil. We’ll put it off for as long as possible – sometimes forever. When fundraising is servant to philanthropy – existing only to make possible the types of social change that people value – it rises about the transaction and becomes a catalyst for something people truly want. The Secret of Donor-Centered Fundraising: No Money Involved.
Philanthropy is fundamentally social. It’s about love. What could be more transformational? When you move from an attitude of taking and hitting people up (aka “fundraising”) to a mindset of giving and lifting people up (aka “philanthropy”). you become a philanthropy facilitator. You move from enacting transactions to enabling transformation.
What core fundraising and marketing strategies does it make sense to keep? What can you do to begin to move towards a culture shift? A culture of leading for transformation, not transaction. A culture of vision, not mission. A culture of philanthropy, not fundraising.
Ready to Embrace Change?
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