Technology Could Be the Cause of Your Failure
I'm trying to sell some real estate — it's a difficult market, I know. But even more difficult is the experience I am having with the process.
It used to be you would meet with your trusty real estate person; do the paperwork; and he or she would get on with the business of advertising, networking and keeping you in touch with the details. You often would get a call or a personal sit-down; you might even have gone to lunch to get updated on the progress of things and how you could stage your home differently, etc.
Now there's this really cool computer program that analyzes all the hits your place has had on the Internet, the website sources, the downloads of the virtual tour — everything you want to know about what anybody did with the website advertising your place.
There are charts, bar graphs, stats — goodness, I could fly to the moon with all the data.
But the whole thing is leaving me ice cold.
No personal calls. No sit-down. No feedback on how the showings went. Nothing. Silence. Crickets.
Then I got to thinking about how I behave with clients. If you get to know me well you know I am about efficiency and organization. I do have a lot of heart and passion and I really do care, but I like to get things done quickly and in the most efficient way. So I love email and automated processes — anything that will help me "move it along"!
I even have this pattern in my personal relationships where, if I don't watch it, efficiency and organization will trump relationship, leaving those outside of me ice cold. As a younger man, I had trained myself to secure love, acceptance and valuing through getting things done vs. just being.
And that was a path toward failure. Just being has always been difficult for me. I know it's right. It just doesn't feel like it is.
Which brings me to you and your donors — how are you managing your relationships with them? Is it charts, analysis, and the efficient email or computer-driven selects and messages? Or is it about real relationships?
When you call or visit them, is that call or visit efficient, to the point, get it done, "wham and thank you," or is it warm, calm, open, authentic, vulnerable, listening, caring? Huge difference — and very important to the long-term health of your relationship with that donor.
Over and over again, Jeff and I have said in this blog that relationship and authenticity matter. We say this because, on a personal level, both of us have experienced it, and on a professional level we know it's important in your donor relationships — not to mention the fact that it increases donor loyalty and giving.
Our world is becoming more and more isolated and impersonal. We have great technology. We have Facebook, Twitter and a million other programs to "help us communicate." And we are communicating and connecting less. Scary — and hurtful and damaging.
What I notice about myself and others, both personally and professionally, is that we all long for real meaning and valuing. That is who we are as human beings. And your donors need that to. Their giving is not just a financial transaction with you — there is something real and important happening behind the scenes. Do you know what it is? If not, your relationship with that donor is ice cold.
Good news on the real estate front: I had a talk with my agent and told him what I was feeling. I told him I felt our relationship had migrated from a real business relationship to a relationship with an automated attendant.
I appreciated his reaction. He said, "I'm sorry, Richard. I have failed you. You've reminded me about how important our relationship is. I'll do better. And now that I think about it, I really need to call my friend up in Minnesota, just to talk. I have failed him as well."
It was good.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.