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.


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