To the Point: What Can *YOU* Learn From Obama?
At the end of this month, we will witness one of the biggest transformations in our country’s history when Barack Obama steps in as the first black president of the United States. Obama’s election represents a sea change for our country in race relations. It also represents a sea change in marketing, communications and fundraising for success.
Regardless of your organization’s size or mission — and regardless of your politics — there are important lessons to learn from this historic campaign. I’ve listed some of them here; ignore them at your own risk.
1. Your donors aren’t listening to you.
They’re listening to what their friends, family members and trusted advisers say about you. We’ve all heard the reports: People don’t trust institutions like the federal government, corporations and even nonprofits. This begs the question: Who do we look to when we need to make decisions about how to vote, donate and behave? Who do we trust? The answer: our friends.
There’s no doubt that we are not the only, or in many cases, the leading, spokespersons for our causes. We are all just small nodes in a global conversation. Follow the model of the Obama campaign by 1) listening to what your stakeholders are saying about you; and 2) joining their conversations.
2. Millennials are the future.
If you weren’t already convinced, you should be now: Millennials rule! The fact is, they might well have decided the election. But if you’re like most nonprofit organizations, 15- to 25-year-olds don’t account for a significant portion of your donor base. You can’t afford to ignore these 75 million Americans. Find ways now to tutor and be tutored by these future leaders. This means, in part, learning their language, like how to communicate via social networks and text messaging. It also means being more open, immediate and transparent in all your communications.