Monday, March 10, 2014
BIG’s Blog: The Internet and Your Future in Fundraising
Last week Seth Godin wrote a short and pithy blog entitled: What does it sound like when you change your mind?
It was a masterpiece of insight wherein he admitted his own mistake in not originally “getting” the Web. Seth had recently started an Internet company called Yoyodyne.
At the time, we were working with AOL, CompuServe and other online services. The Web was in its infancy, and I notoriously said, “It’s just like Prodigy, but slower and with no business model. I don’t think the Web makes sense.”
Even today, with the exception of my readers who have taken our courses or have hired consultants to develop a REAL Web strategy, most of my blog readers are where Seth Godin was during his eighteen months in the wilderness of not believing in the Internet. You have a Website and even use social media, but you’re not bringing in revenue from Internet channels at anything close to what direct mail appeals deliver … assuming your direct mail is still profitable. So, you don’t trust the Internet.
And yet … there is Charity: water and Zappos.com. Charity: water is a nonprofit that started in 2007 and raises 100% of their donations (mostly from small donors) 100% online. In their 2012 fiscal year, they raised close to $33 million dollars. From the commercial world, there is Zappos.com, the online merchant who began in 2000 and NEVER produced a catalogue . . . and today does well over a billion dollars in sales, 100% online.
I understand that this “Internet thing” seems to have been a fast-changing ride since all of us can remember the fundraising world long before the Internet. . . but the future of your fundraising efforts must soon be 100% online, or you won’t have a future.
Take a page from Seth Godin. Learn from his mistake. Change your mind about your future on the Internet.
I’ll let Seth close out this blog with his final thought …
This is one of the assets of youth, and something that’s worth seeking out and maintaining. That flip, the ability, when confronted with a world that doesn’t match the world in your head, to say, “wait, maybe I was wrong.” We’re not good at that. Science brings us overwhelming data about the truth of washing hands before surgery, the age and origin of species, about the efficacy of placebos, and the natural instinct is to push those facts away, rather than find the moment where we can shift our thinking.
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