There Is No Magic Fundraising Button

While technology has opened all sorts of new possibilities for fundraisers, there is no technological cure-all for the fundraising sector, no matter what anyone may attempt to lead you to believe. Fundraising still takes work — and hard work at that.

That was the message Katya Andresen, chief operating officer and chief strategy officer at Network for Good and member of the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board, relayed in her opening keynote at the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation’s Washington Nonprofit Conference.

Andresen began her keynote with a story of a client who informed her during a discussion that the donate button on his organization’s site was broken. She apologized and said she’d make sure it was fixed and worked. He replied, “You don’t understand, people can click it. It’s just that no one is. It’s broken.”

“He was looking for a magic donate button,” she said. “The technology doesn’t do the work for us. Nothing will change philanthropy unless we do the work to be a part of it.”

It was a brilliant, engaging speech Andresen shared with a packed ballroom, and her point was well-taken. There is no magic button, no technological magic bullet that will suddenly make donors appear and give.

“How technology will transform or not transform our work is in your hands,” she said. “You are in a position to determine how your organization will engage constituents.”

Here are a couple key points Andresen hit on:

  • “The content is more important than the technology.”
  • “Peer-to-peer communication has trumped our own communication completely.”
  • “Embrace and use the ‘lowered bar’ of ‘slactivists’ [people who engage online but don’t necessarily donate]. They are more likely to ask other people to make donations. They are more likely to volunteer. They are more likely to get out there and spread the word for you, and they want a relationship with you.”
  • “Invite donors to shape you and your cause.”
  • “Your whole strategy has to work on mobile.”
  • “At the end of the day, technology doesn’t inspire people. You inspire people.”
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  • Mike

    Technology by itself is not inspiring and will never replace relationship building and the desire to be part of a solution. But I would argue that people can empower technology to create a sustainable situation that engages people to give and receive. The merger of technology and people can inspire people.