State of the Sector
Margaret: It seems some … organizations still struggle with it.
Roger: This drop in the number of donors and the need to focus on retention and upgrading of those who remain has been part or most of our sermons for years.
Roger: I think the ones who struggle most are those who can’t accept change and figure out what to do about it.
Roger: The younger, newer organizations may be more capable of adaptation, survival and growth than the behemoths.
Kurt: Not sure I agree. I think we have to worry about both — more donors and getting more from existing donors. Problem is competition. With 3,000 charities chartered every month in the U.S., competition is fierce — or should I say fiercer?
Roger: True, and the Internet makes competition even easier.
Margaret: I think I see something of a contradiction here. You’ve said the emphasis is on fewer, more dedicated donors, yet there is a rise in the use of social-networking strategies.
Roger: Yes, they’re not mutually exclusive.
Margaret: Don't the social-networking efforts reach out to more people, more superficially? At first, at least?
Roger: For example, a 30-year-old who gathers 100 friends to support his/her cause becomes a type of mid-level donor.
Roger: His/her friends aren’t necessarily donors, but through social networking he/she has the ability to deliver substantial money to the charity. That’s part of the whole “user generated” fund phenomenon.
Kurt: And it doesn’t matter. Today’s young person is tomorrow’s donor, and they don’t care that we don’t like their communication tools; it’s how they get their information.
Roger: The organizations that will thrive and survive are the ones that will successfully work the multichannels that now exist.
Roger: Legacy marketing for the older donors … upgrading for mid-level, long-time donors … social networking for the younger donors.