Maybe you’re part of an organization that’s been around for what seems like forever. People know you and love you, but your inner world isn’t changing as quickly as the world around you. OR, you’re working with a group of 5-10 people and you started with an open heart and a clear vision. Your impact plan is groundbreaking, but you realize you’re meeting the needs of your donors using only traditional fundraising techniques and not taking advantage of all that modern fundraising techniques have to offer.
You make a pitch deck and convince your leadership (whether that’s your CEO or your BFF) and you’ve convinced them a change is inevitable. You’ve got to modernize. You’re knee-deep in strategy and you’re finally faced with THE question:
If you are a latecomer to technology, catching up by simply doing what’s been done before is not a viable option. Creating a new path or ‘leapfrogging’ into technology when the industry is shifting is a better option. I remember hearing Marissa Mayer, formerly the president and chief executive officer of Yahoo!, speak and she talked about this exact issue as it related to the email inbox evolution and one of her take-aways was to use a major “moment” to catch up. In other words, change when change is happening.
As Marc Andreessen has said, “software is eating the world,” and so every organization to some degree or another needs to consider how to best use technology to make, deliver, and market programs and services efficiently. From Google Drive to Pandora to Netflix, industries are moving to the cloud, to mobile, and to data-based decision making. These are major shifts. If you identify those and make a big splash in that moment, you have the opportunity to renew your relevance and make space for your story to be told and in a crowded, sometimes overwhelming environment. The other benefit to this is that everyone is changing at the same time. No one is an expert because the new moment or technology is new to everyone. You’re automatically on the same playing field.
Does that mean you shouldn’t spend time updating the details? You absolutely should! These moments are significant and make big waves, but they’re infrequent. You have time in between waves to do an in depth assessment of your tools, strategies, and brand positioning to make sure your message is ready to ride the wave when it comes.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started on that modernization:
1. Make sure your nonprofit’s teams are all working together – programs, fundraising, events, planned giving, major gifts – everyone. A nonprofit CRM that allows cross-functional collaboration will be great for your organization and your donors.
2. Check your constituent file. Is the data consolidated, cleaned, and de-duped?
3. Do you have a plan for engaging donors at every giving level and based on their interests? Leveraging customer journeys a great way to ensure that you’re building long-term relationships that nurture current and future donors.
4. Are you where YOUR people are? Are you able to spread your message to new donors? If not, identify your constituents and use your data to determine overlaps between sources and your most engaged donors to see if you can find more people who are looking for you.
5. Check in with your brand. Is there an evolution that’s cleaner, more direct and speaks to your donors with honestly, integrity and without marketing pretense?
To summarize, pay attention to major changes in the nonprofit industry and fully participate in those changes, proactively, then make changes methodically. To take the next step, download this e-book to understand more your donor’s needs as they engage with your new, modern fundraising strategies.