The Next Big Thing
There's a mobile-giving revolution knocking at the door of fundraising in the United States. Internet? E-mail? Old news. Even social media, which hasn't come anywhere near reaching its fundraising potential, already is looking stale in some circles.
Technology happens, and it keeps happening. And people react to it in a number of ways. Give Uppers reach critical mass and refuse to accept innovation. Old-timer Give Uppers use phrases like "dag-gum whatchamajiggers." They pay for things with checks and blow their noses into handkerchiefs. Younger Give Uppers still look for pay phones on city streets, ask for your fax number and take photos that need to be developed. The youngest of the bunch check MySpace every day, don't mess with "the Facebook" and couldn't tell a tweet from a Tootsie Roll.
Polar opposite to the Give Uppers are the Gimmie Gimmie-ers. If it's new, they want it and can't comprehend why you don't. They're in line at the Apple store three days before the next iteration of the iPhone goes on sale. And they're proud of that. Their computers do things most people think are only possible in the movies. They're cool friends to have because they tire of — and give away — stuff that the rest of us don't even know exists yet.
Somewhere in between are the Wait and See-ers. Cool, even-keel, realistic. They didn't pay $1,300 for a microwave oven in 1955, and they're not the ones walking the streets muttering to themselves because they tossed their LPs in favor of eight-track tapes during their 15 seconds of fame in the 1970s. Wait and See-ers walk a fine line. Sometimes they wait just long enough to avoid high prices and the Gimmie Gimmie frenzy. But sometimes their patience backfires and they turn into Catch Uppers, a distinct subset of the population that's too depressing to discuss at length but has been defined over the years as the guy wearing MC Hammer pants at a party in 1993 and the woman on the bus last week who looked like Melanie Griffith's character in "Working Girl." Note: Catch Uppers often are mistakenly confused with the even sadder Can't Let Go-ers or the elusive Ahead of the Curve-ers, who can spot (or in rare cases, spark) the resurgence of a trend long before the rest of the general public.
Finally, there are the Embracers. They have the passion of the Gimmie Gimmie-ers, but tempered with a touch of the Give Uppers' skepticism and the cool consideration of the Wait and See-ers. Closely related are the Integrators — and this is the place where you and your organization need to be. Integrators are Embracers who take it a step further and find a cozy, seamless place for new trends and technologies within the bigger picture of their lives or, in your case, overall fundraising strategy.
When the mobile-giving revolution does pop, let your inner Integrator answer the call (or text, if you will), but remember that there's no such thing as a silver bullet, no magic pill, no one strategy that will ensure an organization's fundraising success in perpetuity. The one and only, true Next Big Thing is, was and always will be integration.