R.I.P. Donor Pyramid?
Embrace social media fully. Smart nonprofits have always known to let donors know they’re valued for more than their money. The vortex model makes this happen. Influencers, advocates and ambassadors are valued contributors — and sometimes they influence donations well beyond what they themselves are able to contribute.
If you can provide value to prospects who use social media (the lion’s share), and make it snappy, they’ll be all over you like a cheap suit (yes, even those major donors who tend to wear expensive suits). Give folks what they want and you’ll be amazed at the results. And these days a lot of folks — across age and income ranges — want quick, real-time connections via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, G+ and even texts. You’ve got to meet them where they are.
Stop thinking outbound
You’ll know you’ve got the wrong fuel for your vortex if you’re always asking these types of questions:
- What’s going on in the organization we can push to our mailing list?
- What do we have to tell them?
- What can they do for us (e.g., buy a ticket, make a donation)?
Those things aren’t bad, per se, but they’re not likely to get you a long-term supporter relationship. They’re too much you looking in a mirror and admiring yourself. If you don’t start looking out a window to see what your supporters care about, you’ll get what drives most nonprofit marketers — a one-time transaction you can check off your list. Done.
But you shouldn’t be done! You’re never done in the vortex model. You’re not after mere actions. You’re after interactions. That’s what builds up your energy. Every entry point into the vortex offers a pathway to deeper engagement.
Accept the fact this is a nonlinear, nonorderly, downright messy process. Folks can interact with you in multiple ways. They aren’t confined to a single level. Jennifer Wayman at Ogilvy Public Relations Washington calls this a “surround sound” experience — one that uses various channels in people’s everyday lives and increases opportunities to both introduce and reinforce messages. The only constant is energy, which ebbs and flows. The vortex model:
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.