Here are some of the things I’ve been pondering as I go through my day @ Causemo …
• We’re the most philanthropic country in the world, but Giving has flat-lined. It is wonderful that this country is so philanthropic, and yes, it is very much a part of our fabric to reach out and help others. Unfortunately, we have been in a rut for a number of years with our overall support ($410 Billion in 2017) — stuck @ 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the better part of a decade. The big question is: will we continue along this trend line or take a step back due to the impact of 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
• Wow! Technological change is ever present in many industries, but fundraising has been late to the game…and we’re suffering because of it. Look no further than Amazon, Netflix, Uber/Lyft (you chose) to see how technology has changed our everyday lives. Not so much for the fundraising industry. Embracing new technologies —particularly in the area of data enrichment and analytics — have not taken hold or been affordable in the fundraising world. So, my hypothesis is that only when we embrace new ways of doing things in our industry, will our revenue trendline increase and the underlying cost structure to deliver those dollars improve.
• If you don’t know who your core constituents are, you won’t be able to appeal to them on their level and win their hearts & minds. Knowing the specific alignment your constituents have with your core programs + their key demographic, psychographic, purchase behaviors and channel preferences will go a long way in understanding how you should approach them in your engagement, cultivation and support asks.
• Capturing your share of the fundraising wallet is becoming so much more competitive. This is an understatement. The number of 501(c)3’s has more than doubled in the last 10 years to 1.5 million nonprofits. They all vie for individual support as an important funding mechanism, along with corporate support, grant monies and other means. The big question is how do you stand out in an effort to build loyalty.
• Taking into account generational preferences and approaches are now more important than ever— one size does not fit all. An analysis of fundraising data from 2013-2017 indicates that Boomers will soon age out of their prime giving years, so you need to have a plan to replenish your donor pipeline. There are over 65 million Gen Xers in the United States that are just entering their prime giving years. Millennials, on the other hand, are still 20 or so years away from being in their prime giving years, but respond well to Peer2Peer campaigns. For now, start putting a greater focus Gen Xers, as they are where the majority of your near future support will come from.
• Technology is poised to make vast improvements in so many significant mission areas. Two specific examples that caught my eye are: taking steps to end homelessness and dealing with mental health issues. Here’s the link to a great article by Joel John Roberts about using predictive analytics to identify people at risk of being homeless and Matthew Tull’s article on the usage of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) to help with PTSD.
• A person who supports your organization “vertically” is not as valuable as one who supports your organization “horizontally.” What I mean by that is a person who gives you multiple gifts is not as valuable as a person “who crosses over” from giving to volunteering, participating in an event, or other important, supportive activities for your organization. “Crossing over” shows depth of commitment and should be treated accordingly.
• The most important word in fundraising is (wait for it…) IMPACT! A supporter of your mission wants to know one thing and one thing only — “how is my gift going to make a difference.” Express the need and the importance of their support in quantifiable terms, so supporting you becomes easy and rewarding for them.
• And, the second most important word in fundraising is Simple. As in keep everything you do simple, concise and to the point … present your case for support in a very accessible way & don’t have multiple offers that compete for attention. After all, we live in the “YouTube” society, where if you don’t grasp attention in 30 seconds or less, you’re out of luck.
So, what have you been thinking? Please let me know…Jeff
At Causemo, our Insights platform allows users to quickly understand who their constituents are, what they care about and the channels they prefer to give through, to efficiently and effectively raise more money for their mission.
Get in touch with Jeff: firstname.lastname@example.org
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