Monday, March 24, 2014

BIG’s Blog: The Whole Definition of Building Relationships is About to Change

You see, most of the blogs, articles, association meeting sessions, and consultants you listen to live in the land of marketing . . . but the kings of tomorrow’s fundraising will live in the land of data. And data is uber important in the online world.

The whole definition of building relationships with supporters is about to change.

Yesterday, building relationships for fundraisers was about sending out marketing messages . . . primarily pushed out through direct mail and newsletters. This was how fundraisers communicated with 98% of their supporter base. For the Top 2%, defined as those who gave the largest donations, there were personal one-on-one meetings. In those one-on-one personal meetings, you could learn a lot about the donor, their life, their family, their desires, and what mattered to them.

But for the other 98%, it was pretty much marketing messages that told stories in a one-size-fits-all mode.

Did this work?

Absolutely … up until about 15 years ago.

The aughts were when IT and digital technology began to dominate. From 2000 through 2005, fundraisers didn’t really notice anything different; in fact, direct mail program results kept increasing. But the year 2005 was, for most fundraising organizations, their last really good direct mail program year. And though some organizations still see their top line growing with direct mail, their margins are compressing.


People are shifting their behavior online. Online shopping continues to grow, and online is not only what the public wants, but what it’s already embraced.

Online isn’t about marketing. Online connected to data is about personalizing your communications (a simple email) to supporters, driven by data telling you what the supporter cares about.

Online is interactive. People can actually reply to your message and begin engaging with you.

The whole definition of building relationships with supporters is about to change … for fundraisers.


Welcome to BIG's Blog!  Please feel free to forward this post to your friends and coworkers...and email me a comment at:

No comments:

Post a Comment