The Future of Fundraising Is Organizing Behavior

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Those who have known us for even a short time know how we feel about the relationship between fundraising and marketing. Many have sat patiently through one of my many ramblings about what nonprofits and for-profits can learn from one another. So it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing Blog.

Given the relationship between fundraising and marketing (like that of breaststroke and swimming), and the fact that so many nonprofits are also small businesses, it’s no wonder that so much of what he shares is appropriate for fundraisers too.

In his recent post, “The Future of Marketing Is Organizing Behavior”, John shares:

“Today, marketing is about guiding a journey that the buyer wants to take rather than forcing them into the journey that fits our business model.”

This couldn’t be more true for fundraising. Too often we see nonprofits attempting to force prospective donors to give because it will help the nonprofit accomplish its goals.

What we’re seeing at OrangeGerbera are a growing number of nonprofit businesses that are communicating appeals and updates in terms of the benefits to the donor. And I’m happy to report that those who do are very successful.

In his post, John shares seven behaviors that most buyers desperately want to experience on their way to becoming loyal customers. What I’m proposing to you is that these seven behaviors are essentially the same for donors. They, too, want to:

  • Know – They want to choose with whom they build relationships.
  • Like – They want to like and respect nonprofits that are working to address what’s important to them in a way that makes sense to them.
  • Trust – They want to see that their friends and others they relate to have come to trust certain organizations for a variety of reasons.
  • Try – They want to be able to prove to themselves that supporting a certain organization won’t make them look or feel foolish.
  • Buy [Donate] – They want to discover that there are nonprofits that make the being-a-donor experience as awesome as the becoming-a-donor experience.
  • Repeat – They want to develop relationships with organizations (and particularly the people within those organizations) they can count on to get the job done.
  • Refer – They want to have such a remarkable experience changing the world with organizations that so exceed their expectations that they are compelled to share with the world how smart they are.

John continues to explain that if organizations wish to address these behaviors, the whole team has to come together to make it happen. I recently shared a similar message in my post  “Maximize Revenues by Working Outside the [Black] Box”.

If you’re unhappy with the results of your fundraising, I encourage you to ask yourself if you’ve been trying to force prospective donors to engage with you on your terms (as opposed to theirs), and if you can better align the collective skills and experience of your entire organization.


Image Credit: hockadilly (with changes)

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