Thursday, November 10, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Can Nonprofit Fund Raising Groups Innovate? - Part Three

If Bob Lefsetz Blogged About Fund Raising:

If Bob Lefsetz, the famed blogger of the changing world of music, turned his attention to the changing world of nonprofit fund raising . . . it might look something like this.

We live in an on demand world.

Stop trying to save direct mail. It’s done, kaput; it’s just a matter of when.

Because we live in an on demand world. One of choice and instant communication.

The problem is everyone making decisions, wielding power, is a baby boomer or older, who remembers the golden age of direct mail fund raising. Whereas the foregoing is meaningless to 30-year olds; they never lived through that era and the one they know now is better.

You lobbied for nonprofit postal discounts for years, don’t you get it, that is contributing to the death of the post office! The Internet is an on demand platform, just fire up Google or YouTube. If someone is interested in your organization, do you really think that they are going to sit by the mailbox and wait?

Speaking of attention, pay none of it to people that keep saying direct mail will never die. They’re part of the old game and won’t survive, anyway not in their present forms. You have to play by new rules.

First and foremost, the window is forever. Used to be you were selling your mission to help your group; now you’re selling how you have changed the world . . . it’s about outcomes! What I mean is don’t organize your career around deadlines and fund raising campaigns. Something great lies in wait for the listener to discover it online. You want to drop landmines that people will discover when ready.

Continuity. That’s important online. Nothing frustrates as much as going back to a site that has not changed. Maybe your blog is once a week instead of once a day, but if you don’t train the audience to come back, it won’t.

This is why direct mail marketing agencies are screwed. They think they can avoid the day that the postal discount goes away. They really believe you will continue to pay higher and higher prices right up to the end. Don’t see it as a destruction of the old way, as evisceration of your direct marketing expertise, but clearing the deck for a new model.

You’ve got to change your thinking. You’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of today’s donors and potential donors. How do you fulfill their demands?

If you speak to anybody of influence in the old fund raising industry, they’ll testify about direct mail, it’s power. Laugh at this. This is like championing the power of buggy whips after the first automobile hit the road.

Attack me all you want. But, I’m just the messenger.

“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’”

Bob Dylan

By Bob Lefsetz, if Bob Lefsetz blogged about fund raising

Can nonprofit fund raising groups innovate?


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