When we put together our special section on e-philanthropy last year, the nonprofit world was rushing to gets its Web sites up, playing with the idea of “Donate Now” buttons and wondering why its e-mails were getting gobbled up by spam filters.
Lots of organizations still are figuring these things out. Many finally have embraced the wonders of database-management technology. And still others already are eyeing the fundraising possibilities of text messaging and other innovations.
But a new dynamic is settling over the sector. Folks are realizing that rather than changing the way they raise money, e-philanthropy really is just enhancing it. The heart of fundraising will never change; it always will be about relating and communicating. It always will be about connecting.
Ultimately, the sense I got while researching this year’s section is that the keyword about e-philanthropy as we head into 2007 is “balance.” The gold-rush mentality that electrified the first few years of the new millennium is subsiding, and organizations are realizing that being plugged into the Internet can be a major benefit, so long as you stay plugged into your donors as well.
Tucson, Ariz.’s big sky and blistering climate were the perfect backdrop for the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s second annual Leadership Summit in June. It’s fair to say that the conference, which has become one of my favorites, was sizzling. And expansive, definitely expansive. Like last year, sessions were set up to be highly interactive and to allow for the free exchange of ideas while the information was still fresh in attendees’ minds. And they focused on those vital Big Issues — future trends, blueprints for change, etc. — that often don’t get their due because everyone is so busy worshipping at the altar of minutiae.
The leadership summit gives those at the top of the development food chain a chance to quit running on the big wheel for a few days, free their minds and share the fellowship of other “big thinkers.” It remains a refreshing change on the conference circuit. The DMA Nonprofit Federation should be applauded for recognizing a need within the sector and acting on it.
A thought about connecting
I absolutely love this quote from “Because It Matters” columnist Tim Burgess: “As fundraisers, we’re doing more than serving the needs of the people being helped by our organizations. We’re helping our donors unlock the grace of giving.” What an uplifting thought!