Time for Fundraisers to 'Shift & Reset'
One is we need to stop asking for money, and we need to start asking for help, expertise. We need to stop forming new organizations and start to look at how individual expertise or different expertise across groups can be truly coordinated and collaborated. We need to stop overusing social media, and by that I mean we really need to focus on what it means to be social and engage human beings and figure what they want and how to support them and how to mobilize them through a variety of different means. And we need to stop focusing on case studies, which is to say we need to stop looking at what some other organization did and then essentially photocopying the plan and trying to do it for another group. Each situation is different. The learnings and experiences from those past situations are valuable, but they need to be applied very differently than they are today.
FS: What can fundraisers take away from this book to help their organizations achieve their missions?
BR: Part of it is that dollars are not solutions. Dollars raised and applied in the right ways can help you identify or pursue solutions, absolutely. But the more money raised and the larger an organization grows does not necessarily equate to the more effective and the more focused that organization is.
What fundraisers understand probably better than anyone is how to develop those relationships that get somebody to make a commitment. I'd like to see that energy and that appreciation applied to solving problems.
One of the examples I use in the book is Google. Google's massively successful, one of the largest, wealthiest companies in the world. Naturally everyone sees them as an opportunity to get money. But Google is also one of the smartest companies in the world and thinks about problems and challenges very, very differently. So if you're a nonprofit organization and you are trying to address an issue — take hunger — I'd rather have you going and asking Google to help you think differently to apply an engineering perspective to look at the ways that people's information consumption habits should inform how you solve that problem differently and motivate behavior that's going to advance what you're trying to do.