Sacred Cows: Battling Ourselves
As competition has progressed, budgets have tightened and giving has flattened, organizations have to make sure they are focused in the right direction. Sometimes this means looking at audiences served, and sometimes this means looking at donors who are just not staying connected or as committed to the organization.
Years ago I was in a board meeting, and one of the members stood up and said, “Look, I’m in the finance industry. In my business, we would think of these people as ‘not profitable’ so we would raise their fees so they actually leave us and go somewhere else.” I remember the nervous laughter that occurred throughout the room, and I’m pretty sure someone muttered under her breath, “Yeah, but we don’t do that at nonprofits.”
Well, I’m here to say that we should think this way. Whether it is a fundraising audience that is not pulling its weight compared to what is being spent on it or a program/mission audience that has really fallen outside of the focus area for the organization — the conversation has to occur.
Reaching new audiences
This is a conversation that seems to rarely occur, but it should happen more often. Because of all the advancements and changes discussed earlier across science, consumer expectations/needs, etc., sometimes it is necessary to talk about whether organizations are missing an important audience. Obviously there is a lot of research and fact-finding that goes into this conversation, but unfortunately some organizations don’t even make it to those steps. Why? Because when people get out of their comfort zones (or in this case, their knowledge or experience zones), things can slow down or get halted all together. This is a classic example of making a decision that might be best for the organization (translation: easier for staff) than for the mission.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.