The Rise of Technology and Fundraising Education
You’re seeing these tools basically take what had been the advocation of many high-net-worth individuals — the 1 percent — and put the ability to jump in and participate in cause building and nonprofit advocacy into the hands of the 99 percent. We see both very wealthy people and not-so-wealthy people but very passionate people across the board getting involved to make the world a better place. It’s really an exciting time for a lot of these tools and how to use them to better convey the work that needs to be done out there.
FS: How important are educational programs to the fundraising sector?
MS: It’s really critical, especially so now. After 9/11, what we saw was a big blip in the rise of people leaving their jobs, or staying with their jobs but starting organizations to advocate for civic engagement, job creation, women and growth empowerment. It was kind of a psychological turning point for the country but also the sector.
We’re also seeing a lot of these new organizations after two or three years at a crossroads where they really need to now learn classic fundraising techniques and strategies, and to get really deep and broad about how some of these strategies and some of the new media strategies can be used to sustain some of the new organizations that have been created over time. Now more than ever all of this wonderful activity needs the benefit of structure and best practices education so many of these great causes can survive over the long term.
FS: How do you balance all the new technologies with traditional fundraising channels?
MS: We still comprehensively teach all the different ways of raising money, all the different audiences of raising money. My aspect of it is to teach how these new tools can be used to raise money and also to raise awareness and build engagement with new audiences, and create strategies where development teams, communications teams, boards of directors, foundations are all incorporating new tools to do better what they’re already doing. So often one can hear from the outside that this is an either/or thing. It’s not. The old stuff still works pretty well. The new stuff can help the old stuff do even better.