Whenever I am traveling in or around Yellowstone Park I often come upon a small clump of parked cars with people standing around gawking at something not immediately obvious to me. When I first witnessed this phenomenon I, too, wanted to immediately pull over and see what the hubbub was about.
Invariably, as you might imagine, some specie of wildlife was out and about. On rare occasion, this creature of nature was close enough for me to get a very good view. Wow! More often than not, however, the bear, moose, or large bird or prey was so distant or obscured by trees that there really wasn’t much to see.
The lack of anything really worth the effort did not stop others from pulling over. We, as humans, never want to miss out. If there’s a crowd, it must be something important—of value. We see the same behavior walking down the sidewalk in a large city. Start staring upward and see how quickly you can gather a crowd doing the same thing.
So it is with fundraising. New methods and vehicles are everywhere. Not a day goes by without being confronted with the latest and greatest that promises (almost) unbelievable results—tweeting, text-message solicitation, the reverse-auction, “crowdfunding.” That last one doesn’t even make past my spell check. Apparently “crowdfunding” isn’t a word yet, it’s so new.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with any of these. Indeed, they all have some value of one sort or the other. The question you must ask yourself, however, is how do any of these processes fit into the strategic paradigm you have constructed for your fund development program? Huh?
If you can’t immediately answer that question, you’ve already pulled over on the side of the road and diverted away from your fundraising goals. You don’t know what your strategic paradigm is? Then you’re on the loop-road in Yellowstone and may be wondering why you’re not getting any closer to Jackson Hole, or Cody or wherever it is you’re going.
Effective fundraising—fundraising that not only delivers but delivers more consistently year in and year out—is not built upon the latest or most currently popular. It is built upon a solid paradigm of giving for your organization that is consistent with The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising®.
The next time you see a crowd gathered looking at something you can’t see, pause to think that it may be something that you don’t even care to see and keep moving toward your goals.