Grab a Coke and Invigorate Your Fundraising
I grew up in a home where Coke was the beverage of choice. Upset stomach? Have a coke. Bad day at school? Have a Coke. Heartbroken over a boy? Have a Coke. Hey — whatever worked, right?!
I recently came across a blog sharing the top seen lessons learned by the Coca-Cola innovation team and shared by David Butler, Coke's VP for innovation and entrepreneurship. Given my heritage, I just had to read what he said. And wouldn't you know it? Coke has a cure for stagnating fundraising, too!
Here are some of the lessons Coke learned — and that we can learn from, as well.
1. 'Get out of the building'
According to the blog, Butler said, "We can have great meetings but ... make the mistake of not talking to the customer." When was the last time you personally answered a call from a donor? Read an e-mail or a letter one sent complaining about your fundraising (and tried to put yourself in the seat of that donor instead of getting defensive)?
We also need to get out and see the work our fundraising is making possible. Re-energize yourself by seeing for yourself (or at least by looking at videos and photos, and reading stories) what the end result of your fundraising is.
Better yet, take a donor on a tour of your program. See your accomplishments through her eyes. Celebrate together.
2. 'Start with a problem, not a solution'
Sometimes we see a great fundraising idea. We stumble on a website. An e-mail arrives. We get a mailing or attend an event. All of a sudden, we want to do that same thing, only adapt it for our own program.
I am a huge fan of learning from what others are doing and am in no way suggesting you stop your eager consumption of OOF (other organizations' fundraising). But this is a great reminder — we have to know what we are fixing before we start creating the program that responds to it. Is it attrition? Low average gift? Too few donors who give more than once? Instead of trying to be like _______ (fill in the blank), how can I learn from _______ as I look for a solution to my current problem?
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.