Adapting to Disruption: Part Two

In Part One, we focused on how to approach major gift fundraising in ways that embrace a shifting dynamic among donor preferences, along with those trends that may be viewed as disruptive to our industry. Today, we discuss the ways that an ever-evolving technological landscape influences donors’ relationships with our institutions, with one another, and with our world at large.

Cashless Giving

Charity collection boxes and buckets are leveraging technology in the UK through a collaborative arrangement between the producers of the boxes and buckets (Angal®) and cashless transaction provider Thyngs®. Now individuals can find instant donation points where these boxes and buckets are found, without needing cash. The collection vehicles are embedded with QR/NFC technology to allow donors to make their gift using their smartphone by simply choosing the amount they wish to donate.

Graham-Pelton’s take: This is an exciting blend of the traditional with the new, and allows a donor to act right away on the emotion without having to check the wallet or pocket first. Be certain your organization can measure results when a new giving vehicle is introduced, to better determine its ROI. We hope that donors won’t be responsible for the payment of fees associated with these cashless donations – but if so, transparency about that is paramount.


Campus Crowdfunding

Engaging young alumni to become future donors is a critical yet challenging responsibility at higher education institutions across the globe. One vendor proposes a solution: crowdfunding. Their twist is restricting the crowdfunding gifts to go directly to the institution. GiveCampus is a separate fundraising social platform that seeks to break through traditional direct mail and email appeals and facilitate fundraising through social media campaigns that activate alumni communities.

Graham-Pelton’s take: Don’t close the door on new ways to grow your young alumni pipeline, fund particular projects, or initiate mini-campaigns. Of course, there is always risk in jumping on board with products that promote the “revolutionizing” of giving, and it is imperative that institutions do due diligence in researching options and customer references. We see this as an opportunity to engage your Alumni Council, Communications Committee, or Young Alumni Advisory Board: ask them to analyze various social media options for fundraising communications and make recommendations. You may be surprised about what you learn.


Fundraising Unboxing

This UKFundraising blog reminds us there can be a place to think within the box AND out of the box in fundraising. Tapping into the YouTube unboxing videos trend, the blog author muses how an organization can use the curiosity and glee of “unwrapping” to create an innovative fundraising-related video. Some of his ideas include showcasing a new project to fund, unboxing the t-shirts that runners will wear while marathoning for the cause, and introducing a new staff person to insider donors.

Graham-Pelton’s take: Your donor base is tapped from all angles with digital messaging, so you don’t want to get lost among that noise. And some constituents may be feeling a bit bored with the steady direct mail approach. This is a potential refresh you can apply to your communications toolbox. Another idea: consider unboxing something that demonstrates the impact of donor giving.


Not Your Usual Staff Members

Does your institution need a Chief Culture Officer, Data Scientist, or a UX (user experience) Designer? As nonprofits are forced to look for scale and efficiency in an evolving world of unknowns, Fast Company advocates that these are the top three nonprofit positions of the future. Interpretation: Managing community relationships, and recruiting and retaining the best personnel matches for an organization, are among the critical roles a culture officer assumes; a data scientist conducts in-house data analysis that ensures an organization can tap into information at hand in more timely ways, with greater ROI; and making sure a donor prospect’s experience using an institution’s “tools” – website, online forms, etc. – is a satisfying one sits squarely in the UX designer’s lap.

Graham-Pelton’s take: Be bold as you assess your internal structure and determine where your next new hire should be placed. One of these unconventional positions may yield greater results at less cost.

Endless advances in technology can feel daunting to keep up with. Yet, when we embrace the change that these advances present, we begin to build strategies that are not only more flexible and donor-focused, but also foster more collaborative and effective fundraising.

Pat House, Ed. D., is Senior Vice President of Client and Consultant Development.

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