2106 Fundraising Prediction #1: Connectivity

CONNECTIVITY: The winners in the nonprofit sector, across all categories of charities, will be those that learn to foster and maintain deep, personal connections with their constituents.

Whether it be with volunteers, donors, board members or employees, or a combination, successful charities will embrace and institutionalize a truly authenticate, transparent, and humanized relationship with their supporters. Charities can no longer expect their constituents to love them as they have in the past.

The relationship between a supporter and a charity is now a heavily traveled two-way street. Supporters expect to be drawn into something bigger than themselves and to participate with a charity in ways they have never been able to before – connecting their charitable activity with their heart in a deep and meaningful way.

I know three people who started a charity and have become incredibly passionate about it – and have drawn family members, friends and colleagues into the process. And guess what – each of the three were under 25 years old (one younger than 20) when they started the charity and they all still continue to work full-time in their regular job. Why are they doing this? Because it allows them to connect their charitable passion with their heart and contribute to society in a meaningful way. Putting more purpose and value to their daily life – its not about writing a check to a charity its about being involved and connected on a deeper level and actually doing something and actually participating – not just writing a check.

This trend isn’t slowing down. These type of individuals are changing the face of philanthropy in amazing ways – just think ahead to when these folks have significant discretionary funds and a greater ability to expand their participation. They will accomplish great things.

What this means for your charity is anyone’s guess – but it will negatively impact the big, cumbersome, lumbering along charities with big donor databases and high overheard harder than others. Its going to be the small charities, the nimbler the better, that have a laser focus on their mission that are going to succeed.

Ian Greenleigh had a great guest blog post way back in 2013. Here is a profound excerpt from that post:

People want to experience products and brands on their terms, in new ways, and meaningful experiences aren’t reliant anymore on that historically necessary condition: product ownership. Relationships between people and brands have gone from binary and transactional to complex, with a kind of depth once reserved for human relationships.

Key take-away: be authentic, be personal, treat supporters as humans, and offer a path to deep, heartfelt engagements. Imagine new structures and new approaches to how to impact lives and raise funds. Seek to connect and achieve truly human relationships.

Next Prediction: Shared Experience