Friday, January 18, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Seven Big Trends…

My regular readers, when they saw today’s blog title, must have thought, “Mike has finally capitulated to the pressure!” For new readers, I have been known to make fun of other blogs and articles that are constantly spewing forth The Top Five fill in the blank.

Of course we are all drawn to these titles. They promise the holy grail of answers to life’s or business’ most pressing problems, all wrapped up in a neat and tidy little list... whether it’s Seven Big Trends for Small Business, or The 100 Top Movies of All Time, or this year’s list of The Sexiest Men Alive.

Okay, for today I succumb to the siren-call of “lists,” because the attached list of The Seven Big Trends for Small Business in the New Year has 100% applicability to what nonprofit fundraisers are facing.

The Development Director of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Maria Pippi-Layne, forwarded the article to me. Maria is currently enrolled in the online learning portion of our Acquiring the Next Generation of Supporters program, and wanted me to see that the trends we are talking about in the sessions are being talked about in the press…albeit for small businesses. But, by the way…all fundraising organizations, with a few exceptions, are small businesses.

Okay, so what are the Seven Big Trends?

1. Look to the clouds: This means remote computing. Using the Internet to access a plethora of cloud-based programs and tools from customer management systems to Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs.

2. The era of social: Fundraisers can no longer ignore the outreach potential of social media anymore than the typical small commercial business.

3. Your workplace is everywhere: Technology enables people to work from “wherever” by being connected from virtually anywhere.

4. Video conferencing instead of business travel: Travel is costly plus a major hassle. More and more meetings are happening online which makes for happier and more productive employees and happy CFOs.

5. Applications keep things moving: Applications or “Apps” are really software. And the real trend is that software is changing sector after sector of the economy…not the least fundraising.

6. Talk just got cheaper: Internet hosted phone systems [VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol] mean you can virtually avoid long-distance charges; maybe not completely but almost. Big savings!  

7. Devices talk amongst themselves: The Holy Grail is getting all your devices to sync up. It’s not perfect today all the time…but we are getting there.

So what’s missing off the list for fundraisers?

Right…  “How do you pull together a strategy that incorporates the above trends, plus many more important developments to improve fundraising? “

Well, that is why Maria was so excited. Her organization is learning how to connect the “dots of change” to create a strategy THAT WORKS. And “works” is defined as connecting with younger supporters and raising more money.

Knowing about trends is nice-to-have knowledge. Connecting the trends together with a strategy that achieves your organization’s goals is what fundraisers are looking for.


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