‘If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.’
Wise words from Albert Einstein there. But words that were clearly uttered before the age of disruption.
Ask any fundraiser and they’re sure to agree that doing what we’ve always done is most definitely NOT leading to the same results. But why?
Like many other industries, the not-for-profit world has been blown apart by technology. It’s changed, not only the way we operate but perhaps more crucially, the way our supporters operate. No longer content with a monthly newsletter, audiences now demand personalised connection (delivered through a medium of their own choosing) that makes them feel part of our vision, rather than simply funding it.
And there has never been more competition. New charities are popping up every day and bombarding audiences with a paralysing plethora of pleas, appeals and (if you believe the UK headlines) aggressive phone calls.
Right now, trust in charities is at an all-time low in the UK and the sector has been forced to self-fund a $2 million regulator that makes an already tough fundraising environment, even tougher. Suddenly a profession that once signified benevolence, has gained a reputation more commonly associated with the used car industry.
Thankfully, Australia seems to have so far evaded this kind of ‘media bashing’ but trust is a fragile thing and we cannot risk following a similar fate.
So, how do we ensure we stay on the right side of our supporters?
Follow these rules
- Insight, insight, insight: get inside your supporters’ heads and ensure that everything you do is focused on what they need to hear, not what you need to say. Knowing your Donor Journey is the number one key to sustained, regular giving.
- Showcase your impact: gone are the days when having a worthy cause is enough to satisfy supporters. They want evidence of the difference you’ve made and perhaps more importantly, what would happen if you weren’t there.
- Embrace technology: it’s here to stay and can revolutionise your fundraising performance. If you don’t want to be working 16-hour days, invest in a good quality CRM system that can provide donor insight and email communications in a single click. Think smarter, not harder.
- But don’t exacerbate the digital divide: being supporter-centric means truly understanding your audience and connecting in an appropriate way. Be sure that you aren’t isolating your laggard (but often most loyal) supporters with purely online communications.
- Seek help: never before has the not-for-profit sector experienced such unprecedented change. It’s OK to feel confused and overwhelmed at times. It’s not OK to bury your head in the sand and maintain business-as-usual. Talk to other fundraisers, share ideas and gain inspiration from industry thought leaders.
Learn about Transformational Journey Mapping
One person making waves in the fundraising community right now is Mike Johnston, founder of HJC Consultancy. Mike and his team have created the Transformational Journey Mapping process, which enables charities to understand and predict future donor behaviour.
This process is based on insights from the commercial world that have been translated to identify the ‘trigger points’ that lead to engagement.
Mike was the highest rated speaker at last year’s International Fundraising Congress and will be unveiling Transformational Journey Mapping for the first time to Australian audiences at bbcon not-for-profit conference on 1-2 August in Sydney.