3 storytelling lessons

Story telling!Here is an analogy to fundraising from the Sanskrit scriptures that I have derived many lessons from. It is about Ganesha and his brother Kartikeya, who were tasked by their parents to go around the world three times. While Kartikeya set out on the task immediately, circumambulating the globe as instructed, Ganesha chose to walked around his parents, Shiva and Parvati, with great devotion three times.

When asked by his brother to explain his action, Ganesha replied, “you chose to go around ‘the world’, I did so around ‘my world’. Ganesha was pronounced the victor of this task by his parents. (more…)

Dear Fundraiser: What, exactly, is Your “Product”?

I’ve been reading Peter Drucker lately.  In case you don’t know, Peter Drucker was one of the first management gurus of the 50’s, and one of the most influential of all times.  As Mr. Drucker got older, he turned his talents to nonprofits, first opening a foundation for nonprofit management, and then donating his own time and energy to the social sector. His book, Managing the Nonprofit Organization, first published in 1990, was a seminal work in our field.

In 2005, just after he died, Bloomsberg News posted a fundraising challenge to the NGO world:  “Convert donors into contributors”,  Drucker had said in his last days.  “If nonprofit groups are to acquire more financial resources, those who give will need to feel more like participants.”

So, has this advice from the sage of NGO management held up? Are today’s NGOs creating more – or better – donors using methods of “engagement”?   It’s definitely the buzzword of the social-media decade,  but is it working?  Or rather, how is it playing out? (more…)

The Big Chill: can we cure donor’s emotional breakdown?

We had all hoped it would go better with time and we tried to ignore it. But the disease is still here, how is it possible?  Is it me or is everyone experiencing the same? Everybody is tweeting and blogging about this virus eating away our income and infecting our database (among many see  Roger Craver and  Tom Belford and also the rants from Lucy Gower and Reinier Spruit). Notwithstanding the ‘prescriptions’ on donor’s loyalty and relationship by Adrian Sargeant and Ken Burnett we still sadly look mainly at the numbers: call it retention or attrition, loyalty or stewardship, donors are leaving us. (more…)