'Idea Storming' for Fundraising Professionals
The other thing is even a technique like the worst-idea technique. It sounds crazy — you come up with bad ideas, not good ideas, and then you try to do the opposite or you find something good in the bad idea that you can turn into a good idea. As crazy as that technique sounds, it really works. If you want to get some kind of breakthrough idea, something that's never been done in the industry, a lot of these approaches should help you do that.
FS: How important is it today with so much saturation on the donor side to find those breakthroughs?
BM: We're at a point now of tremendous clutter in this world. The problem is everybody is being called a million times, and the donors have limited resources ultimately, so they have to make decisions about who they will and who they won't donate to. So it's not unlike positioning a product; we have to be very clear about what our positioning is, but also not only clear in the positioning, but also creative ways to reach these people and get the message out.
One of the assumptions in the fundraising world is that most of the donations are given by individuals. The relative amount of donations by companies is very small relative to those of individuals. So you might question that assumption that those two have to be separate. Isn't there some way that you could bring those two together? Why should they be separate?
FS: Do nonprofits need to run more like the innovative companies out there that are succeeding?
BM: I'm no expert in fundraising, but certainly in the world of packaged goods marketing, it's obviously the Apples of the world who are achieving extraordinary successes because they have been so creative in the products and services they're offering. My bias is that there is no better time to do the tremendously innovative things that a company like Apple is doing because people are interested in the new. There's even more pressure now for the new: a) because of the clutter and the mental clutter of communication, and b) because it's just more fun and more exciting to be part of something totally new.