Are You Marketing and Raising Funds the Right Way for Today's Donors?
Sometimes it is the shortest discussions that can really make you think hard and deep about what you are doing.
Last week, I had that experience. I was happy to be among a group of colleagues hearing some thoughts from leaders in the industry. One such leader (Dr. Susan Raymond, Ph.D., executive vice president, research and analytics, Changing Our World) shared some amazing information, and I was rapidly trying to capture as much in notes as possible. But one of her conversations was not about facts and figures and predictions, and it was a relatively short one.
In comparing how the commercial word markets to how nonprofits market and raise funds, there was a distinction made between being "outward-focused" and "inward-focused." Raymond's assessment was that most commercial companies are outward-focused and most nonprofits are inward-focused. Here's my version of the difference between the two:
- Outward-focused: This type of marketing and sales is focused primarily on identifying the needs of the customers and matching the products and services to the consumer need. This doesn't mean that companies follow customer needs into areas that are not primary focus areas for them — but it means they build the features and benefits of their key products around meeting the needs and solving the challenges of their key customer bases.
- Inward-focused: This type of marketing and sales is focused on what the company believes is its best product and what it can do/serve/produce in the way of customer benefits. In some ways, you could call this type of marketing focused on the company and what the company wants and thinks versus the customer.
The example that was given last week was pretty simple. The "outward" company that sells socks approaches the customer base to find out what color socks consumers want and need. Then it promptly identifies all the socks that are the perfect match for those needs. (What color do you want? Blue? Great — we have blue.)
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.