There are 1.5 million charities in the U.S. (Wouldn’t it be great if we had a dollar for each one?) 1.5 million causes deemed appropriate under government rules to be worthy of charitable status. The one thing they have in common is they are all looking for money.
It is trendy now to add the word fatigue onto the back of a noun; anger-fatigue or compassion fatigue for example. This phenomenon directly reflects the number of times we are greeted by demands for our righteous anger, our empathy and above all our money. People are effectively saying I can’t or won’t deal with anymore.
In the face of this, the fund raiser’s job has just become exponentially harder. It is not enough to be asking for money, you must be heard over everyone else, you have to be able to overcome apathy and then you have to state your case.
Fundraising now is a sophisticated business. High-tech tools offer the promise of faster income but they need to be used in the right way and against massive competition for the same dollar. Within the non-profit employee structure, your tech guru is a key staff member.
Fundraising is a two-way activity
On the one hand, a fundraiser needs to connect with the donors, on the other interaction with officials who manage funding decisions at local, state and federal government level is just as important. They have the potential to be as important as a major donor.
Crowdfunding and other ways to get an influx of funds
The internet means these methods can be quick and effective. They are broad and shallow but above all fast. Getting 100,000 people to give $10 may take less effort than courting one individual to give a million.
Moreover, these people have a totally different demographic. They don’t look, walk or talk like a philanthropist. They are younger, less wealthy and ready to join a cause.
Don’t trust the internet
How many times are we told to check for fake news, how many times do we trust the source on the internet? How many times do we scroll down is just a second. You no longer have 15 seconds before someone leaves your site. Now it is the length of a swipe on a social media site. How long is that? 1.5 seconds? Less?
Companies need to start from the premise they will not be trusted and then create their messaging and brand with that goal. Create a smidge of trust and build on it.
Have you noticed the trend toward sustainers?
Fundraisers who can harness the power of a sustaining donor creating a base level of revenue will find fundraising easier. The concept is like a gym membership. You pay it every month. You might not even go, but there is still a small amount of money coming from them regularly.
The game has changed, there are new rules and the fundraisers who ‘get it’ are the ones who will survive.