What's Driving Your Fundraising?
Suzy, the vice president of a nonprofit delivering health care in 70 poor countries, admitted she doesn’t have “the time or opportunity to think strategically.”
Her West Coast-based organization was enduring a “perfect storm” of problems: a new CEO; board demands to expand significantly the number of beneficiaries; and a fundraising team lacking experience, data and metrics for measuring results. If Suzy’s charity were a car, some might have called for an engine tune-up. Wrong. This organization needed a complete overhaul, a new way of doing business based on a new model of engaging supporters and donors.
The Tandon Institute has developed a framework to meet the needs of Suzy’s agency and many others. The 8-S Model is based on eight universal drivers that are applicable, regardless of a nonprofit’s location; its mission; its supporters; or its level of engagement in the latest technologies, fads or “buzz.” Applying the drivers, as a whole, defines a nonprofit’s long-term performance at engaging constituents and building sustainable and scalable funding engines. Technologies only make these drivers more relevant.
The need for a holistic engagement strategy has never been greater. Overall giving as a percentage of GDP has stayed principally flat since 1971, according to Giving USA data. Moreover, a report by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality notes that growth in charitable giving among individuals between 2009 and 2011 was the slowest of any two-year period since 1971 with only one exception — the recession of 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In addition, many nonprofit leaders focus, almost ceaselessly, on reacquiring lapsed donors at high costs. They separate donors from volunteers — a strategic error. Moreover, many charities are not yet taking full advantage of social media and the Internet. The Blackbaud 2012 Charitable Giving Report, released in February, finds that online fundraising was a mere 7 percent of all giving in 2012. Given how much time each of us spends online, shouldn’t that percentage be much higher?