Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Selling?

Seth Godin, the famous marketing guru, says, “Let’s be clear – the product is more than ever marketing.”

Yes, but…

But what?

The “what” is that marketing has fundamentally changed for fundraisers.

Take a hundred fundraisers and line them up. Ask them how many are marketing their mission. I’ll bet 90% tell you they are selling their mission. Marketing = Selling. Hey…when they ask for money, they are validating the “ask” by selling their mission. And for those doing direct mail…it’s all about selling the mission.  

Is there anything wrong with that? Not if you are “addressing” the WWII and Depression era cohorts. You are speaking their language, they expect to be sold.

But starting with the Baby Boomers and younger generational cohorts, they speak a different language.

The Boomers and younger generations don’t want to be sold. And “marketing your mission by selling your mission” is called selling to the Boomers.

So let’s revisit. How many fundraisers out of 100 are “selling” their mission? Still 90%? Probably closer to 95%.

So what are the other 5% doing?

Good question…

The other 5% are spending 95% of their time building a network of people who are interested in what their organization “does.” Interested doesn’t necessarily equate to money . . . it equates to a passion for the mission.

Do you see the difference?

At first you think it’s a subtle difference, but then you read what I am REALLY saying and it is not a subtle difference . . . it is a profoundly different approach.

The people who are involved in the mission are sharing their passion. That is not about selling…it’s about sharing and relating. They NEVER ask for money. And for the people who connect, don’t talk to them about donations, talk to them about what they are passionate about.

Pleading for funds is dependent on “selling” your mission.

Sharing information about what you are doing and letting people decide to engage in conversations about the work that you do IS NOT SELLING…. but it is marketing.

Beginning with the Baby Boomers, sharing information is good . . . selling is bad.

Look at your donor file.  Are 60%+ of your donor file Boomers?

If not…you’re probably still selling.

For generating the revenue your organization will need in the next 20 years, you probably don’t want to be selling.
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