Fundraising in 2013: Campaigns or rethinking the strategy playbook first…

Fundraising in 2013: Campaigns or rethinking the strategy playbook first…

And how to increase donor conversions while reducing the costs of donor acquisition

Panaceas- we’ve seen a lot of them in communications over the past 3-5 years:
• Personalization
• Variable data
• PURL’s
• QR codes
• Social media
• Mobile marketing
• Email marketing, no wait- back to direct mail and quickly!
• Interactive media
• And my favorite- let’s get another list

What I’ve noticed is a lot of well-intended agencies, suppliers, vendors, speakers, presenters and such “leading with the application” (or software, or media format, or gimmick- you name it) and not enough of our well-intended brethren leading with new strategy plans.

The fact of the matter is we live in a communications world of rapidly evolving change… if you’re not a believer just keep watching the maneuvers of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple; they know what the change is and they’re in a race for global dominance as we speak.

And change has become so commonplace (whether by volume or speed of change) that many suppliers and development managers alike have accidentally ignored the implications of change.

And for others still, the amount of change has translated into a “force multiplier effect” that creates more confusion, “a glazing over” that seems to be more trouble than it’s worth to try figure out.

Having spent a lot of time over the past 15 years on or near the front end of this wave I offer up four main categories of change- changes in:
• Donor behavior
• Media formats and devices
• Communications fundraising technologies
• Human resources giving it their best efforts

Despite all this change and the challenges they represent opportunities exist to increase donor conversions while reducing the costs of donor acquisition.

But, applying old communications tactics in this new communications world will NOT work.

It requires a new communications playbook and I would encourage all development managers to revisit their playbooks BEFORE applying new apps, media formats, etc. into your fundraising mix. And, if you’ve already ventured “into the new media/new app world” you can still go back and augment or recreate the strategy plan.

Arriving at a new strategy playbook can be reverse engineered as follows:
• Developing an understanding of what’s possible relating to increased donor acquisition
• Asking new questions of the organization and donor conversion paths
• Determining new answers
• Thus beginning to rewrite the strategy playbook
• Eventually you’ll likely be applying a strategically integrated mix of traditional and new media
• While making sure your communications infrastructures are optimized for the changes that exist in donor behavior today (most infrastructures are not)

If your agency or supplier partner is capable of leading and investing about 90% of their relationship with you in the areas of strategy and innovation prior to apps and campaigns chances are you’ve got the right teams.

If not consider finding a new media coach or determine to find the answers on your own.

If you look at our blog and other media format posts from here forward you’re going to see a lot of advice, opinion, and expertise on what you can and perhaps should be doing with your development strategy playbook from here forward.

We’ve done it for lots of development officers and we’re beginning to open our kimonos, stay tuned!