Michael Malekoff Consulting

Is Technology Hurting Your Fundraising?

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Now before anyone throws up their hands and starts yelling at the computer, hear me out. I know — how can anyone make such a statement in today’s technology laden fundraising experience? There are websites, text to donate, on-line donations, event registration, social networking and on and on and on. All of these technology tools are making it easier to raise more money than ever before. Plus, with technology you have access to an endless array of data and a CRM with all your donor information.

So here’s my point. Yes, it is true that technology has been an enormous benefit in raising more money faster than ever before. At the same time, I believe, that technology has become a crutch for many individuals/organizations, thinking technology can do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to raising money. Technology is a wonderful tool in “assisting” a non-profit and we will never go back to manual management. Yet I see examples, especially with the younger staff, thinking technology can actually take over the actual fundraising process.

What is your organization doing to “engage” the donor?

Every study, and any seasoned non-profit veteran, will tell you that fundraising is about developing “relationships” with donors. And developing relationships depends on personal contact with the donor. Yet the trend today, is about shifting all the communication to a donor through technology without any human interaction. Just program the system to send messages electronically and wait for the money (or registrations) to come pouring in.

There is the position that with technology we are reaching 10 times the number of people as we used to reach and can’t possibly communicate with everyone on an individual basis. This is true, but I see this taking place with all donor communication, regardless of whether they donated $5 or $500. I’m sure the larger donor is a much smaller percentage, yet they remain a part of the larger pool receiving the same exact message…electronically, with no special attention or human interaction.

Does your marketing include segmentation of your event donors?

This is the truth of today’s technology focused non-profit. All donors are relegated to an endless array of electronic communication only. And in larger organizations where departments access the CRM, each department takes ownership of “their donors” and with no organizational coordination the donor is now receiving endless requests for engagement; from planned giving, to direct mail, volunteer requests and event participation. The donor receives endless “noise” from the non-profit with no strategy for managing donor engagement. The end result? In many cases, the donor automatically deletes all the messages or, worse yet, opts out of future communication. And we wonder why retention numbers continue to decline.

How is your organization stewarding your event participants?

At some point, an organization must recognize that not all donors are created equal and, therefore, require unique touch points and communication. More importantly, the donors raising the majority of the event’s funds need targeted communications as well as individual attention that includes phone calls, personal visits (where possible) and invitations to special events.

For more information on how technology can be tailored to increase participation and fundraising contact Mike directly at mike@michaelmalekoffconsulting.com.