R.I.P. Donor Pyramid?
2. All prospects and donors are similar points of energy on your circling vortex. As the energy builds up, some are swooped toward the center of the vortex and stay there. They’re the ones whose energy (and values) match yours most closely. They’re the ones where the chemical reaction (or, as Yoda might say, “the force”) is so strong and the energizing experience of the circle (your community, your family) is so potent that they simply can’t resist you. These become your hard core of supporters — the ones you continue to supply with lots of energy.
3. But everyone else gets energy too. The folks engaging with you online are just as important as offline. They must be responded to so the energy keeps flowing. Some of these folks have so much energy themselves that they’ll spread your message like wildfire — if you let them. So, let them. Play with them. Invigorate them. Catalyze them. Give them breathing room — rather than trying to force them into rungs on a ladder, points in a funnel or levels on a pyramid.
4. Inbound marketing and social media fuel your vortex. Electronic communications — social media, mobile, email, crowdfunding, online donating — have permanently disrupted the traditional donor-engagement process. People get information online, network online, make decisions online.
5. Entry points are increasingly complex. Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, texting — there’s a lot for your typical nonprofit to wrap its arms around. Yet wrap you must. There’s no going backward. Change is change. You adapt or die.
This is not something fundraisers should leave solely in the hands of marketing staff. I’ve been a broken record for years on the essential need to integrate marketing and fundraising. It’s never been as crystal clear why this is important since the explosion of digital. Your donors only know one organization. And, increasingly, they know what they see about you online.
If you like craft fairs, baseball games, art openings, vocal and guitar, and political conversation, you’ll like to hang out with Claire Axelrad. Claire, J.D., CFRE, will inspire you through her philosophy of philanthropy, not fundraising. After a 30-year development career that earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award, Claire left the trenches to begin her coaching/teaching practice, Clairification. Claire is also a featured expert and chief fundraising coach for Bloomerang, She’ll be your guide, so you can be your donor’s guide on their philanthropic journey. A member of the California State Bar and graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco.