Friday, February 1, 2013

BIG’s Blog: If You’re Going to Retire this Decade – Part Two

80%+ of fundraising leaders are Baby Boomers - born 1946 to 1964. It is not an exaggeration to say that the vast majority of those individuals will retire in the next ten years; most this decade.

What will their legacy be?

Ahhhhh...that's the question.

In my last blog (If you're going to retire this decade - part one) I wrote about the WISDOM that Development Directors have, but I made a very real distinction between Wisdom and Knowledge. New knowledge is constantly coming at us, and we either keep up or we fall behind. No leader can afford to fall behind, not least because ultimately THAT is what you get paid for.

Today, virtually every Development Director I speak to is privately worried that they don't really understand the online tools that are proliferating...Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on and on.  I estimate that 90%+ don't really use these tools (just having a Facebook page or Twitter account doesn't count), although I do urge them to start using the tools as familiarity breeds acceptance (you were thinking "contempt" weren't you). For leaders, that is REALLY NOT THE POINT.

What is the point? The point is understanding what these tools can do for your organization when they are orchestrated into a cohesive and comprehensive plan.

But back to your legacy.

The playing field of fundraising has changed. For my 86-year-old mother, keep doing what you are doing in how you communicate and talk about your organization to her. And yes, I am talking about using direct mail. But my mother is not your future. My 50-something wife is your forty-something brother is your 30-something tech guy is your future and my 20-something daughters are your future. Unless you reach are dead.

It doesn't matter how compelling your mission or ministry, if you don't connect to the Boomers, Gen X or the Millennials...YOU HAVE NO FUTURE.

Okay are the current leaders of your fundraising organizations.  What is your legacy going to be?

It is the ethos of our generation (I'm a Boomer too) that we change the world for the better. Of course now that we are in our late 40s, 50s, and 60s, we understand how to translate "change the world" into change our little "piece" of the world. And "our little piece of the world" is that before we leave the stage...retire...we bring our fundraising organization into the digital age.


P.S. If you’re interested, or you know someone that might be 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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