Stop recruiting donors!

Published by David Berg on

We live in very interesting times, times in which a charity can achieve outstanding results with less effort and money. The world is connecting at an enormous space, and connections are made based on shared values and passion and a common purpose, social media being the driving force behind these partnerships. Fundraising is no longer dominated by the main fundraising techniques Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Direct Dialogue, but online social network fundraising, crowdfunding, open innovation, facebook, eBay, SMS, Mobile giving, products and also services among others are at the disposal of every fundraiser to integrate and execute.

The fundraising income that will also grow significantly in the next years is that of companies. Companies are expected to become more social and contribute to society. This is not only required from the customer point of view but also to acquire the talent of today and tomorrow to make the business grow.

More and more companies are interested in cooperating with charities to create emotional relevant partnerships for everyone. It’s no coincidence that Some American Charities call themselves Emotion Providers.

Charities can benefit
Looking at these developments and you realize that charities are in exactly the right place to benefit from this paradigm shift and the world in which being authentic and honest really sells.

Being a fundraiser is the best job in the world if you know what the success factors are, and every charity big and small can become very successful, but they need to complete the transition from ‘transaction based thinking’ to ‘relationship based thinking’ only then can sustainable success be attained.

Stimulating and accelerating the transition
We have been actively stimulating charities to make use of the internet and partnerships since 1998 We are glad to see that in the 7 years that passed between our first Online Fundraising research and the 7th edition that will be published in March, that progress has been made but charities are missing out on many opportunities if they hesitate in making the transition.

Dare to innovate
More and more charities are measuring their marketing efforts and conversion from the visitors on their website, the level of interaction on their social media, the open rate of the E-letter etc..

Charities that focus more on improving the relationship with their relations from visitors, to subscribers, to donors and volunteers will be see an enormous boost of their fundraising performance. Every charity has competition, but the charity that seek dialogue, practice open innovation will benefit, not only in fundraising results but also in access to expertise and channels to accelerate even more their performance and purpose.

Direct dialogue can assist in improving relationships
Why not use direct dialogue to also improve the relationships with current and new relations, instead of pressuring people in committing to monthly giving. More and more people take a detour if they see a ‘DD’ team ahead. But “DD” can still be stay very successful, we have shared our solution already 4 years ago. In the beginning you have to fight against the created apathy of people but once they realize that the charity is sharing their experiences, their gratitude for support and what they wish to achieve in the future. People will receive a little booklet containing ‘special deals’ made with 5 companies (retail chains). These companies pay a fee to be mentioned in the booklet, and the teams are generating traffic to these stores that are in line of sight of the teams. People can support the charity in many ways, one of which is still the old and trusted monthly giving, the other – email address, sms, a facebook like that is worth 1 euro provided by a business partners, participate in events (a running event of which the charity will be the beneficiary; social network fundraising) and the buying of products and even services. In this way the presence of the teams will lead to meaningful relationships, and you will find more people willing to join such a team for small reward.

Facebook for acceleration
Facebook will lead to a large following, fundraising results if a charity shares, invites and co- creates with their facebook connections.
Social media is still very young and not yet very mature, charities can still make an enormous progress if they share their ambitions, be bold, keep everyone updated and make it happen.
We stimulate charities in making many ‘connections’ admin of the page or group and to invite ‘admins’ of other relevant facebook communities for a meeting to share experiences and become partners. The same goes for inviting facebook likes and friends to take part in the social media council for a period of one month or more…

Partnerships with companies
Companies will be willing to partner with charities more and more in the near future for mutual benefit. Charities should focus on coaching these companies in translating their social identity into emotionally relevant campaigns and joint promotions. So the ‘transaction’ should be postponed to the future so that the relationship gets room to grow. Each company can commit to a fundraising guarantee agreement in which the company will pay an certain amount after 6 months. In these time of economic decline this approach will lead to mutual beneficial partnerships.

In the Netherlands http://www.woordendaad.nl/ has a brilliant fundraising proposition for companies. They can contribute € 0,10 ct for every free click that a visitor on the website makes on the button ‘ Donate free’. If www.woordendaad.nl would pay even more attention to the conversion of the traffic this ‘donate free’ page generates for their partners, they could double the current revenue easily.

The American charity www.facebook.com/Weday has gone one step further, just like what http://6x6x6opreis.nl/ a fundraising campaign initiated by Getaway Travel in 2010, by adding a donation value to every like. WEday has used among others Dutch Television Ads to double the number of likes with 900,000 in just two weeks with each like being equal to $ 1`.

We will keep accelerating this transition, and advice and guide many charities who participate in The 100 program, towards the success that the transition will bring, if they are able and willing to make that transition.


If you wish to receive the 7th Online Fundraising Results than become a member of our LinkedIn group Online Fundraising for updates, downloads and for advice to accelerate your transition and success.

David Berg

Accelerating the fundraising performance of not for profits has been are main objective for many years now. Guiding and coaching charities to benefit from the online fundraising techniques, and eagerness of millions and millions of people to contribute to their cause is our passion and getting results are promise.


Stephen Pidgeon · January 21, 2012 at 19:26

I’m old fashioned, I come from the DM tradition. So forgive me for my cynicism, but can I disagree with two of your statements. They sound SO appealing; but at the moment they are just wrong and fundraisers will get nowhere if they are seduced by them.
‘Fundraising is no longer dominated by the main fundraising techniques Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Direct Dialogue…’ The 2011 stats aren’t out yet, but in the US, in 2010, the year when Haiti broke all on-line giving records, on-line delivered just 7.6% of voluntary income (Blackbaud’s 2010 On-line Giving Report – 1,438 charities with a total of $5.1bn income). 7.6% does not dominate 92.4%, however much you’d like to think your specialty is taking over the world. It’s not….yet!
On-line WILL grow and I’m thrilled with the opportunities it offers fundraisers but it will take many years before it ‘dominates’.
Then there’s your thought that significant growth will come from companies. People have said that for 30 years. It never has grown the way we have all hoped and it won’t in the future. I know you’d like them ‘to create emotional relevant partnerships for everyone’ but if you’ve ever run a significant company, a publicly quoted one for instance, then you’d know that, sadly, that is ‘cloud cuckoo land’.
Thank you for allowing me to express a counter view, it is one of the multiple pleasures of on-line and I hope you don’t mind my cynicism.
Stephen Pidgeon

David Berg · January 23, 2012 at 13:00

Dear Stephen,

Thank you very much for your reply.
We live in a world where possibilities are almost endless, and there are more ways than ever to raise funds, get people involved and make them work with you for a common purpose.
It’s our experience that most charities, that don’t have the luxury of having a large donor base can raise many funds using the fundraising techniques of today.

If you are implying that I think DM, TM and Direct Dialogue shouldn’t be used anymore, than that” s not what I meant. I find with our annual research, and many free consultations and based on our own experience that the three techniques are not being used to improve relationships, while fundraising can go hand in hand with improving relations.
Fundraising based on a shared passion and identity will drive the success of all the fundraising techniques available today and those which are smartphone driven. Just imagine what results can be reached if the above mentioned fundraising (classic) will play a part in the acceleration.

There are just so much opportunities out there for each specific charity. With our the 100 program we can zoom in and make tangible the dynamics, identity and online fundraising potential of each charity… with success. The only thing that we need to take into account is the current capacity of the charity to organize and manage the fundraising activities, that’s also why finding online teammembers is so important, because every charity can have many active volunteers if they all do a specific task that fits with their skill and daily activities….

I will ask 101 fundraising if there is another opportunity to share our experience and know how on how to achieve fundraising results based on the opportunities that exist today. We already share this on our linkedin group Online Fundraising/ Versnelling Fondsenwerving.

Perhaps it does sound to good be true, but I know this works and will work today and in the future to come, but charities need to make that transition, otherwise fundraising will become less and less FUN and successful every day.

With kind regards,

David Berg
Online Fundraising

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