Monday, February 7, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Relationship Building - Fund Raising Faith-based Organizations Can Love - Part Four

The definition of a "disruptive technology" is that when it comes on the scene, it first “disrupts” the existing technology by being better, faster, or cheaper or all the above. And then it “displaces” the older technology.

In my last blog, Part Three of this series, I used the example of the automobile displacing the horse and buggy as an analogy to digital media displacing paper and ink, but, of course, I could have just pointed to what is happening to newspapers.

The issue is not direct mail versus digital communications; that argument is over. Analog communications, represented by direct mail, has been disrupted by digital communications and is being displaced. The issue is: when and how are faith-based fund raising organizations going to adopt and transition to digital communications?

While there are many compelling reasons to shift to digital-based communications – remember better-faster-cheaper – for faith-based organizations, the most profound reason ties directly to the human element of relationship building. One of our core beliefs at Browne Innovation Group is that fund raising should be a natural by-product of the organization’s mission and ministry, not the focus. And for faith-based organizations in particular, THAT should be the Gold Standard.

This shift in the nonprofit fund raising sector is already well underway. Validation of that statement is found by looking no further than the growing base of nonprofit fund raising literature on this very subject including a new book entitled, The Networked Nonprofit by Kanter and Fine. For nonprofit fund raisers, The Networked Nonprofit is a seminal work in explaining both the shift to the Net and the implications. And for faith-based and religious organizations, the changes and the positive implications lead inevitably to the process of using these new technologies including social networks to fundamentally reshape relationship development with those individuals that have a heart for your mission and ministry...and by doing so, change the very definition of what Development means for fund raisers. This was unimaginable in the analog fund raising world with the possible exception of sitting face-to-face with a very few well-to-do donors. The Net democratizes relationship development fund raising as we know it. Combined with enhanced data, analytics and digital-based communication tools, fund raisers can literally keep in touch and develop personal relationships with hundreds, thousands or millions of constituents and constituent donors.

Here is the question faith-based organizations must ask themselves: “Are we ready to shift our focus in fund raising from Building Donations to Building Relationships?”

If the answer is “Yes,” then look for my final installment in this series on Thursday, February 10.


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