Friday, March 1, 2013

BIG’s Blog: 11 Big Trends that will Reshape Fundraising: No 1

I follow the writings of quite a few people, and I generally respect their thinking. It is not always about agreeing with them on every point, but about how cogently they make their case and argue for their position. Max Kalehoff is one of those people, and he is currently VP of Product Marketing at a company called Syncapse.

Max recently published a paper for The Wharton School’s Future of Advertising Program. His paper was entitled 11 Big Trends That Will Reshape Advertising In 2020 And Beyond. Over the next few posts, I am going to take each one of his eleven points and personalize it for nonprofit Development. Clearly, we can all agree that Development will look very different by 2020. Let’s take a peek into the future together.

  1. Digital Breadcrumbs Will Become The New Research. Let’s start with media measurement and marketing research, where I’ve spent a great deal of my own career. Traditional market research — particularly representative sampling and self-reported survey techniques — will never go away.  Those methods, however, will eventually become subservient to the gathering and interpretation of large universal data sets that don’t represent populations but are actual populations. Some call this trend “big data” — as intelligence derived from digital breadcrumbs usually means working with very large data sets. That may be true, but it’s important to remember that data become valuable not because of their size, but because of their precision and insights. If the wonk word “big data” goes away by 2020, all the better.

As the Internet makes possible the aggregation of literally every data point (think about that for a second), research as we know it, while not disappearing, will take a backseat to having all the data for a particular population, whether that population is your current base of donors, all the people who have visited your organization’s Web site, or all the people who have visited all nonprofit organizations’ Web sites. Data won’t be the issue, analyzing the data will be the name of the game.

Since Mr. Kalehoff’s focus is on the commercial world, he mentions media measurement. In the future, nonprofit organizations will not be purchasers of media. However, nonprofits will aggregate and re-post news from all media sources that may pertain to their mission, and though they will not be purchasers of media, they will, for instance, measure and analyze media to more precisely understand the link between a news item and the visit to their Web site.


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