You Can Change the People That Matter
The always wonderful Seth Godin published some great wisdom on this subject in his blog recently, and I was so struck by his (always) right-on-the-money observations that I had to share them with you — adapted nonprofit style. Following are some of Seth’s main points (in bold), followed by my interpretations for the fundraising crowd.
“Marketing is about change — changing people’s actions, perceptions or the conversation. Successful change is almost always specific.” Fundraising, like marketing, is also about change. And, like marketing, it works best when it’s specific. It’s hard to get someone to support your cause, help a devastated region or volunteer for good. But when you ask her to give $5 to provide a reader for Eldana in Addis Ababa or sign up now to staff the domestic violence hotline for a 60-minute shift next Sunday, that usually works — if you’re talking in the right way to the right person at the right time.
“The challenge of mass media was how to run ads that would be seen by just about everyone and have those ads pay off. That problem is gone, because you can no longer run an ad that reaches everyone. Now, instead of yelling at the masses, the marketer has no choice but to choose her audience. So the first, most important question is, ‘Who do we want to change?’”
For fundraisers, this is actually the third most important question (first, of course, being, “What are the fundraising goals that will help my organization meet its overall goals?” and second being, “What are the specific actions needed to meet those fundraising goals?”). So, on to No. 3: “Who do we want to change?”
Nope, the answer is not “the general public,” which I hear from so many of you. You don’t want everyone — “everyone” won’t help your organization meet its marketing goals. If you try to make that happen, you’ll squander all your time and budget in a flash.