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Archive for the ‘Discussables’ Category

Consequences of generosity

In Discussables on May 1, 2010 at 6:21 am

PFSK, a trend research firm in New York, found an interesting cafe in Japan. I was turned onto this story by a blogging friend.
The Japanese cafe, called Ogori, has a unique service proposition. You can order anything you would like. But you are served what the person in front of you orders. And so the person behind gets what you ordered. And their order goes to the person behind them. And so forth.
If this were the consequence of all of our decisions, how would you order?
Pay it forward or social revenge?

Now imagine your donors. If what you ordered went to them, what would you be leaving them with?

One Love

In Discussables on April 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Does everyone of your donors care about All of your Programs? Of course not. Do you care about every item in Pier One? Do you read every book on the NY Times list? No, but you might say you love Pier One or you are addicted to the NYT list.
Having all of your donors “love” you is not enough. Unless I can get specific in your organization about particular things of interest, specialty items that fill my needs, I won’t love you for long just because you help kids. But if I can pick and choose, give to your organization which helps kids AND choose the program that provides books with lunches at schools. Now I’ll stick around.

Start with the donor part 3- website and status updates

In Discussables on April 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

What does your website say about you?

Whatever it is, change it.

Donors landing on your site are looking for something about THEM, not you.

So skip the long, pithy paragraphs about your organization. Give the donors what they want- info for their needs. They want details on the mission they care about. Share a story about a client, the impact of a gift. Tell your donor where to go for other like minded people (we all love tribes). Give your donor something to do.

Same thing with all those endless, interrupting status updates. Your donor does NOT care if you are:
At a really cool conference
Having lunch with another donor
Ending a really long work day

Face it, you don’t care about those things either, you’re just too lazy to dig up a bone for your audience.

Skip the ego update and save a donor.

Start with the donor pt 2 – email newsletters

In Discussables on April 28, 2010 at 8:50 am

Starting with the donor, cuts across ALL of your marketing.

Your donors don’t want to receive email newsletters from you unless those newsletters are about something they are particularly interested in. As Seth Godin says “Its not email, its Me-mail”.

So don’t send spam to your donors. Send Me-mail.

Me-mail is email the donor has:
A) agreed to receive (always, always get permission before including a donor on your newsletter bulk email list)
And
B) has information that they have a particular interest in hearing about.

How do you know what they want to hear about? They tell you. If not with their dollars (what program do they support in your organization?), then they should be telling you in your dialogue with them. Ask them.

And once you know their interest, make sure you customize their email newsletter specifically to their interest.

If you are saying “She’s nuts, too much work”, then don’t bother wasting your money on email.

Spam does not get read.

Start with the donor in mind

In Discussables on April 28, 2010 at 8:09 am

Nobody ever buys something because the company needs the money.

This is what is so baffling about nonprofits. They approach fundraising from the position of “we need funds”.

Marketing and fundraising are two sides of the same coin. Two legs of the same pair of pants.

Both should set out to first determine what the consumer/donor needs. Then build a case for why your product/program fills that need.

And if it doesn’t, find another consumer.

Slow Money…Salvaged Soul

In Discussables, Retail ideas on April 26, 2010 at 10:44 am

Go here

Slow Money

Amazing concept and yet so…..organic? familiar? basic?

Principles of the Slow Money Alliance include:

In order to enhance food safety and food security; promote cultural and ecological health and diversity; and, accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Principles:
I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:

* What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
* What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
* What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

Wow. Finally, a better way to measure our success as a society.


An Undeniable Truth

In Discussables, Retail ideas on April 26, 2010 at 2:06 am

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity

In Discussables, Random on April 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

…or as a friend said to me while we were on his boat crossing Long Island Sound one weekend, discussing possible impending storms, “Chance favors a prepared mind.”

How do we get prepared? How do we continuously scan the horizon, absorbing the bigger picture, while staying present to the tasks at hand? How do we recognize and take advantage of those life changing moments as they appear, those moments that we may look back on in hindsight and say “My life changed that day”.

It’s impossible to believe we can stay ever vigilant, that we can be prepared always, that we can be on “one hundred percent” of the time. The physiological aspect of being in a state of readiness is not a sustainable state for the body to be in:  The body’s response to being in a state of alertness cannot be maintained for long periods of time because stress hormones produced in the adrenal glands help to heighten alertness, and prolonged release of these hormones can lead to illness, injury or even death, according to leading physiology docs.

But we can:

  • Stay attuned to change. Prepared for it. Ready to accept it and embrace its nuances and its large bats……
  • Stay prepared for new ideas. Look for the unusual in everyday life.
  • Stay alert to new relationships. Being willing to share yourself with someone new. No matter what the situation.

These three easy ways to have a ‘prepared mind’ are the least stressful to your psyche and body.

And reap the most rewards.

Data Rich $$$

In Discussables on October 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm

In philanthropy management, data is the key to godliness.  And accurate, complete and usable data is the food of Gods.

When I began in fundraising…many years ago…our data on donors was kept on index cards. Yes, little white cards, or color coded, depending on your offices level of sophistication. We kept demographic data: name, address, career related information on these cards. We kept the donors financial information on these cards.  We kept information on the donors interests on these cards and their latest donations.  And we kept a documentation of our interaction with the donor on these cards.

Maintaining these cards was easy. One file box. A few scribes. No one could use the card at the same time. No one could ‘erase’ the data without leaving evidence of it. If you referred to the card, unless it was not written on the card to begin with, you knew exactly who was speaking with whom. The worst that could happen was the box was lost, or the card.

Pulling data from these cards in any batch effort was impossible, or nearly so. It would require days of man hours to collect a report of who was interested in pediatric surgery, or who made a gift in the last year.

Then enter the computerized database. What a joyous feeling it was to actually have a system to collect data to and query reports from!

We jumped into using the database with both feet and soon learned that our headaches had only just begun. I don’t know of one philanthropy professional who is without a war wound, horror story or hairball of a database system, because of a rush forward into technology without restraint and with ignorance to the outcomes.

What I’ve learned on the battle field is summarized here in four key mandates. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Tour of Missouri needs fiscal policy guide – Kansas City Star

In Discussables, News on October 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

More stories hit the media on financial accountability and NPO’s. Is there an organization out there that can take this 600 pound gorilla on? A group needs to convene to research and make recommendations on what policies and oversight should and could be occurring to ensure donor rights and advocacy of respectful and honorable use of donated funds.

Report: Tour of Missouri needs fiscal policy guide – Kansas City Star

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