Tuesday, April 17, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Growing Up in Haiti

For many adults in Haiti, their world is their community. They may never have traveled five or ten miles from where they were born. They know the world they live in and are comfortable with it, though they are mostly clueless of the larger outside world. Certainly radio and TV give them a glimpse of the outside world, but they choose not to focus beyond the world they know. Then one day an earthquake hits their community and turns their world upside down.  

At Browne Innovation Group we are privileged to know and work with some of the best and brightest in fundraising leadership today. And even they will tell you that their world is shifting under their feet. Even they need help in navigating the rough waters of change. But at least they ask.   

The chasm between those fundraising groups that are recognizing and reacting to change in fundraising methodologies and those that are not reacting is growing wider by the month.

A year ago I wrote that nonprofit fundraising groups had the next five years to make the move. Today I see that I was wrong. The older cohorts who have been the backbone of support are shrinking faster than I thought and the shift in people’s adoption of personal technology and communication modes has changed the behaviors of how they live, work and communicate. This change is good in that it will allow fundraising groups to reach and engage younger donors as a whole more quickly than I foresaw.

But this shift is having profound effects on the old ways of doing business and not just with fundraising. Borders book stores are gone. Best Buy is under huge pressure and some are predicting it may go out of business. And what is hurting them?  Consumers with cell phones and shopping apps buying from Internet retailers like Amazon. Society is changing profoundly in how it shops, and it is clear the action is online. The same holds true for how more and more people will choose who they will donate to.

The good news is that many nonprofit groups are re-thinking their strategy for fundraising and acting on it. In the end, they will succeed. They will make the transformation and they will become the backbone and the hope for the future of fundraising.   

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