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Is Giving an Experience or an Obligation?

Fundraising is evolving. Previous generations gave because of a sense of duty or obligation. For them, all that was necessary was a just cause. Things are changing. We have many more choices. There are multiple organizations pursuing the same cause. We expect to be closely connected to everything around us. Today our giving is data-driven and our confidence is driven by evidence. Each generation is more connected and more data-driven. Is your fundraising evolving at the speed of society?

The impact of the recent economic turmoil has been inconsistent. Some nonprofits have suffered. Others are unaffected. Still others are enjoying growth.

The explanation for success or disappointment may be more complex than just one tactic or process. For some organizations, one explanation is enough. They have fixed the flaw and giving is growing again. Others have multiple flaws and it will take time before growth returns.

Where does connecting donors with the impact of their gifts fit in your portfolio of funding tactics?

Is it the most significant change you can make?

Is it one of many changes but not the most important?

The answer to those questions depends in part on whether donations are down, steady, or growing. If donations are up, connecting donors with their impact maybe the next step to increasing the sustainability of your funding stream. If donations are down or steady, it is probably wise to prioritize your tactics and do what is most important.

If making giving an experience is the right next step, it is important to dissect the process. Part of most experiences is anticipating what will happen. Part of it is seeing progress. Part of it is enjoying the finished product.

Next Step:

Define the experience you want the donor to have so the donor can enjoy the journey

Define the milestones that will provide evidence of positive progress

Design a reporting process that will make achieving the milestones meaningful and rewarding for the donor

Determine how to closely connect the donor to the result (For instance if it is school, invite them to graduation.)

Social media can be a valuable tool in the process. It is standard part of the emerging generation’s life. It is becoming an important part of every generation’s life (tracking grandchildren, reconnecting with high school friends, keeping up with friends who have moved away or retired, etc.). It provides instant and inexpensive contact with a large group. It also has the potential to become impersonal and formulaic, which reduces the personal experience part of the giving process.

The milestones and results need to be quantitative. The results especially need to be independently verifiable. We have all become skeptical of claims and untrusting of internally generated results. Progress reports can contain internal data. However, there is an expectation that milestones will lead to externally validated results.

The collateral benefit of this process is that it creates a more accountable and transparent organization. Accountable and transparency are attributes society is emphasizing more and more. The accountability also helps to foster a culture of being goal oriented and results driven. The transparency invites donors to become active participants in the mission. This helps to increase donor loyalty and generosity.

Evolving donor relations has many benefits including increased sustainability.

As always, contact Mission Enablers if you want help. We use a special process that offers a guarantee. For more information about our process and guarantee, you can click here.

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