Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BIG’s Blog: We Are In a New Relationship Era

It’s time for a bit of soul searching for me. In these messages to you I have not been talking enough about the loss of attention and the loss of trust by the “average” potential supporter.

Top-down marketing (also known as Vertical marketing) is becoming less and less effective by the day… by the hour…even as Horizontal (peer to peer) marketing is becoming the dominant force in consumer decisions, and that includes choices of giving. It should be obvious, having just come through a presidential election cycle where both parties (but one party in particular) spent gazillions to influence behaviors and attitudes…and didn’t. No amount of paid push-advertising today can influence what people can find for themselves about a person, organization, or candidate online, or influence people who have a relationship with a friend or peer who is opining online for free.

Very quickly we are overturning one hundred years of mass marketing through proxy (newspapers, radio, and television) and returning to the local bazaar where people got to know each other, caught up on news, haggled over goods and services, and passed on stories about people and groups who were helping other people and making a difference.

We are quickly moving back into that type of relationship era, but now, it’s being facilitated via the Web.

All this nonsense that digital tools and social media are stifling or cocooning people from real relationships…total nonsense. Try telling that to the tens of thousands who found their significant other online. Or the school reunions where the first few awkward hours are gone because everyone is on Facebook.  The in-person reunion only throws gas on the relationship-fire that keeps burning up the Internet as people go their separate directions, but stay connected with the lives of their classmates.  

So what does this mean for fundraisers? It’s all about relationships. It has always been about relationships. Today you can organize your fundraising group using inexpensive and easy-to-use technology to manage a hundred, a thousand, a hundred-thousand, or a million relationships. And if you don’t start doing this quickly…the more behind you become.

But, back to “loss of attention” and “loss of trust.” If they are under 50, you have a choice: send them a letter or call them on their cell phone. If you call them on their cell phone in a way where they actually invite you to call them…you gain their trust. That’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


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