Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Mobile for Fund Raising – Part One

Where is mobile today and what does it mean for fund raisers?

IBM’s Coremetrics Benchmark Industry Report released November 4 predicted online holiday shopping in November to grow 15% compared to last year. This is huge.

“Mobile commerce is expected to surge this holiday season because of an increase in iPad and Android device adoption,” said John Squires, chief strategy officer of IBM Coremetrics. “We are witnessing the end of the PC era,” he added.

“All of those people who predicted the last ten years that next year would be the year of mobile are finally right,” said Squires.

So what does this surge in people going to Web sites through their mobile devices have to do with your fund raising organization?

Have you bothered to create a mobile smartphone or tablet version of your Web site?

If you have, great!

If you haven’t . . . well, check out our blog tomorrow for quick ideas to help.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BIG’s Blog: The iPod Killed the Walkman

At a recent family reunion, iPads outnumbered laptops eight to one. And yes, the laptops were driven by 50ish uncles.

And the PCs, well, my take is that if I were Meg Whitman at HP, I’d reverse my decision to keep the PC division and close it.

iPads are already devastating the PC marketshare. What the kids and adults used to do on PCs, they now do on iPads. You still use a laptop or PC at work, but at home it’s the iPad.

And the future? A recent Neilson survey shows kids electronic appetites run to the iPad. The Neilson survey quantifies what I saw in my own family.

By-the-way, the iPad falls under the category of mobile.

The iPod killed the Walkman.

The iPad is killing the PC.

The Kindle and the iPad are killing printed books.

And all the above are killing direct mail. So, it is no surprise the U.S. Postal Service just announced proposed rate increases for 2012.

So what should fund raisers do?

Starting next year, we will be partnering with several different organizations and companies offering ½ day seminars on transforming your fund raising. If you are interested, please send me an email and I will make certain you get an invitation if there is one in your area.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Digital?

Later this week, I will be blogging about the rise of mobile. Mobile and mobile media is a game changer for marketers and fund raisers. To prove the point, a recent IBM report states that 15% of all online holiday shopping this year will be done on mobile devices.

I’m always conflicted when I write blogs about the growth in digital and digital media because although all nonprofit charities have Web sites, and a few are starting to use social media, there is no real plan on how to use the shift to digital to transform fund raising. There is just huge institutional momentum to keep doing what we have always done and for long-established fund raisers that means direct mail.

But, it isn’t just the charity realm of nonprofits; it seems other nonprofit industry sectors and even the governmental sector are the last bastions of the pre-digital.

The four industry sectors most resistant to digital transformation are: 1) Education, 2) Healthcare, 3) Charities and 4) Government. And of these four, government is starting to make the most strides to embrace digital reacting no doubt to the economic pressure of less revenue.

My personal goal for government and the day I will be able to say government has fully embraced digital is when I can vote online.

Think about that.

I believe the day is fast approaching where you will be able to vote online, at your desk, at work, or at home.

Then, of course, you will either; go to work or if you voted at work, turn around and start planning your next pre-digital direct mail campaign.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

BIG’s Blog: I Know How to Lift the 2%

A recent report by Blackbaud and the Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising began with a piece of not-so-good news.

In the United States, charitable giving is estimated to be around two percent of average household disposable (after tax) income. Regrettably, this is also the 40-year average for this figure, indicating that, despite an increasing effort on the part of nonprofits, individuals today are no more generous than their predecessors were over four decades ago. 

To the authors credit, they actually listed 32 recommendations and divided them into four themes: Theme One: Enhancing the Quality of Donor Relationships, Theme Two: Developing Public Trust and Confidence, Theme Three: Identifying New Audiences, Channels, and Forms of Giving with Strong Potential for Growth, Theme Four: Improving the Quality of Fundraising Training and Development.

Many of these recommendations are good, others are common sense, but still, others are silly and a few are self-serving. And when I read the list of the groups and individuals that participated in this study, while giving them an “A” for effort; I would have to say that their ideas and recommendations – even if all fully implemented – wouldn’t budge the needle. It reminds me of the old saying, “Today’s Generals are always fighting the last war.”

I have read and re-read the report and it strikes me that there is little or nothing in the report that focuses attention on the most “disruptive” force in world commerce today – and that is the Internet. 

In 1996, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corporation was quoted as saying, “The Internet changes everything.” Fifteen years later, the Elites of nonprofit fund raising haven’t figured out disruption has come to the nonprofit fund raising sector. And it is this disruption that offers the opportunity to “change everything.”

You know what the definition of insanity is don’t you? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Hey guys, you’ve spent forty years and haven’t moved the needle. How about internalizing, “The Internet Changes Everything?”

As an aside, if there was ever one of my blogs to pass along, this is the one. As is evidenced by this report from what we would perceive to be the Elites of fund raising, they are clueless as to the reality and implications of the huge digital shift going on. In fact, if you know anyone or any of the groups that participated in this study, please send them my blog; not to make them mad, but, to hopefully shake their tree and wake them up.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

BIG’s Blog: To Make Great Decisions, Clear the Head

Joshua Ehrlick is an Executive Coach. He works with both senior executives and on-the-fast-track young executives.

One of the first things he tells them; getting stuff done is overrated. Knowing where you are going and how to get there – strategy – is everything.

Too many senior executives spend too much time “doing” and not enough time “thinking.”

So, on this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, if you are feeling scattered and stressed by the amount of work on your plate at work, take a few minutes to read and then re-read Joshua’s five rules for breaking your transactional mindset so that you can focus on needed strategy and direction for your organization.

Remove the obstacles. Say “no” to administrative tasks and unnecessary meetings. Work on building a stronger team so you will feel comfortable trusting and delegating. Stay out of details best left to others and start zooming out – looking ahead at your team’s strategy.

Quiet the noise. Carve out quiet time to help your focus to become clearer. Mindful breathing can help quiet internal distractions. Sit for five minutes each morning with the intent of focusing on your breathing. Mindfulness helps leaders solve problems more creatively and learn more quickly and flexibly. Begin to read more broadly and attend conferences in search of new ideas and to network.

Percolate. Begin to journal and reflect on your ideas. But keep a diverse group of advisors engaged in your ideas so you are not self-deceived by the brilliance of untested ideas.

Clarify your message. Half the battle with strategic thinking is conveying your vision clearly. Test your ideas with colleagues and advisors and ask for feedback based upon what they heard.

Keep reflecting and adjusting. A strategy must be effective. Adjust and tweak your strategy so that it fits your organization.

Of course, some of these tips may not work for everyone. Find what works, and keep polishing it.


Welcome to BIG's Blog and yes, by all means forward pit blog to your friends and co-workers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BIG’s Blog: The Power Shift

A few weeks ago, I quoted Peter Drucker from 2003: “In the next few years, power will shift to the customer – for the simple reason that the customer now has full access to information worldwide.”

And, of course, at the heart of Mr. Drucker’s power shift is Internet-based Search (think Google).

Virtually all nonprofit fund raisers and more commercial companies than you would think still put the vast majority of their marketing efforts into the broadcast media and audience paradigm.

What do all broadcast media have in common?

First, the information flow is one-way.

Second, the “power” is with the broadcaster.

But, Peter Drucker says power is shifting to the customer (donor) based upon access to any information we seek.

The customer isn’t waiting for a broadcast. The customer is “looking” for what they are interested in – NOW.

If the customer (donor) is looking; will they find your organization? And if they do find your organization, is there someone ready to engage them in real-time?

If your goal is to attract donors, then understand Search and be ready to Engage in Real-Time.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BIG’s Blog: What’s A Donor Cost/Worth?

Publishers Note: We are sorry that the previous posting of this blog truncated and did not print in full. Below is the complete blog for Tuesday, November 22, 2011.

I spend hundreds of hours a year writing and talking with nonprofit fund raising leaders about shifting their fund raising dependence on direct mail to multiple Internet-based applications and channels.

Two things every nonprofit fund raiser needs to know. First, how much does it cost to acquire a new donor, and second, what is the Lifetime Value of a donor?

When I ask their direct mail managers, they immediately give me answers to the above questions. This is a standard metric direct mail fund raisers have been tracking for decades.

But then I ask, “What are your Internet-based channel equivalents?”

Blank stares.

Why do I ask? Because the Internet is shifting the economic paradigm. Facebook and LinkedIn (to name just two) are delivering new prospects at close to zero cost. How does that compare to cost-per-acquisition in direct mail when fully 60+ % of acquired donors do not give a second gift? Yes, I know Internet-based approaches can be two, three or more steps before you convert to a donor, but when a person engages with your organization for almost zero cost, the Lifetime Value metric looks real good, real fast.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Who is the Best?

What is your mission worth?

What is the difference in salary cost between “who you can afford” and “the A player” you really want and need? 10% more, 20% more, 30% more, double?

What is the difference between what the A player can accomplish and the other guy you can afford? 2X, 4X, 10X?

The difference between mediocre results and off-the-charts results.

First, determine who the A player is, and then go after her with a vengeance.


Because your mission is worth it.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

BIG’s Blog: A Smile To End The Week

To end the week, a couple of bumper stickers from my travels:

“A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.”

“Money talks . . . it says bye, bye.”

Have a great weekend.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.