Sunday, March 4, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Fundraising Marketing Versus Control

The goal of fundraising will always be the same: raise the revenue necessary to fund the work of your organization. But marketing (and that includes fundraising marketing) is fundamentally changing. By “fundamental change” I mean that marketing is done completely differently than you are practicing it today. Oh, and by the way, you also have to give up control.

In the vertical marketing world that we all grew up in, the marketer was in charge. She had the plan, the budget, and the control of where to spend her marketing dollars. Vertical marketing starts at the top and involves advertising tactics like TV and radio spots, magazine or newspaper ads, direct mail, and pushing our PR hype through the media. This is the advertising and broadcast world that is dying.

The horizontal marketing world is built on the internet. It is all about your organization creating a wonderful mission and telling your story in a compelling way so it spreads from person to person. But it’s outside your control. Your story is spread by people who become passionate about your organization and the work you do. These passionate people aren’t paid agents like the broadcasters in vertical marketing.

Horizontal marketing works because you give up control. Your organization spends its time and resources delivering a phenomenal service to the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, and so many other groups. The fundraising organization meanwhile spends their budget on one thing . . . engaging your passionate supporters and meeting their needs.

Direct mail is declining in effectiveness as millions of people go online. The online rules of marketing are different, but you have to be there if you are going to grow.


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