Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Transformation

Well, my last blog, “Transitionalist or Transformationalist,” brought some polite and some strong criticisms. The polite ones merely stated they weren’t certain which camp they were in. One person also said the names were too long, so from now on it’s “Transition or Transformation.”

The strong criticisms were people cancelling their blog subscription. It’s not coincidence; it’s happened after I have made equally strong statements in the past. But I keep getting new subscriptions daily, so…

Why do I believe this is not a transition?

First, I firmly believe (after talking to many fundraising leaders) that they do not understand the magnitude of the change the analogue-to-digital shift is having across society and how quickly it is happening. Second, most fundraising groups are not facing up to the fact that the Depression and WWII generations, who have supported their organizations for years, are declining rapidly and the younger generations – beginning with the Boomers – take a very different approach to giving. And third, although most fundraisers acknowledge the rise of competition for the donor dollar, all they see are eroding margins and have no strategy to reverse it.

Finally, I can find no examples of organizations or industries that faced similarly significant technological change and “transitioned” their way to prosperity.

Was there a half-horse / half-automobile as we shifted from horse-based transportation to the automobile?

Was there a half-candle / half-electric light as we shifted from fire light to electric light?

Maybe you can think of a technology transition that created a link between two fundamentally different technologies. I am stumped and cannot.

Don’t confuse cross-over periods with transition. A cross-over period is the time when the old technology is declining while the new technology is rising to replace it…but they are both in use.

In today’s fundraising, direct mail communications and its methodologies will decline while Internet-based forms of communications will create the basis for a whole new way to communicate and engage nonprofit supporters. This is a cross-over.
When we have fully shifted our fundraising, it will not look the same. It won’t be practiced the same. It will be more in-sync with the expectations of younger generations and it will ultimately be more successful than the old methodologies.

One will decline and one will rise. We are living in the cross-over period, but make no mistake, this is transformation.

Bob Dylan said it best, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”


P.S.  If you’re interested, we will be holding a Webinar that introduces our new e-Learning program: Acquiring the Next Generation of Supporters. There is no cost for the Webinar, but seats are limited, so if you’re interested in learning more, email me your name and I will personally see you get on the list.

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