Anderson described how businesses are making money on the Internet by giving things away for free. I was particularly enthralled because the strategy he was describing — give the basic level away for free and then charge for the premium model — matched the radical museum membership program envisioned by Beverly Sheppard and John Falk in their 2006 book Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New business models for museums and cultural organizations from Alta Mira Press.
When your board or staff are evaluating how well your organization is doing, it helps to think about your mother. Because if you don’t believe that your organization is a wise investment for your mother, it really isn’t for anyone else’s mom (or dad or sister or brother) either.
When did you last receive a sincere expression of gratitude for a gift? How would you rate yourself on the gratitude scale? What could your organization do today to increase its donor gratitude quotient?
3. Help your donors visualize their investment. While nothing is more important than building donor loyalty, I strongly suggest this approach for both new and long-standing donors. Here is how it works. Make your case for support just as solid as a bricks and mortar campaign.
I get very nervous when someone comes along and decides that it’s necessary to restructure the sector and believe that they’ve got such a scoop on nonprofit effectiveness that they can set themselves up as the arbiters of donor giving. Here’s why:
* Only a limited few organizations can directly show their impact on societal outcomes. Some schools perhaps. But how do we measure the creation of beauty or knowledge sufficient enough to pop into a rating system ? Or how about the prevention of harm? Developing meaningful measurement indicators of societal impact for these types of nonprofits have stumped evaluators for decades.
* How many organizations can we say are solely responsible for some long-term outcome, independent of the other players in their system? Even the most polished policy shops I know give due credit to those noisy, rag tag activists from struggling grassroots nonprofits who help to define the middle ground or even hit the home run themselves after years of stalled action. How does a rating system address collaboration, synergy and large networks, planned or not?
If you didn’t have a sense of urgency about building a resilient and adaptive organization before, hopefully our economic meltdown has convinced you that times change.
In case you are still resisting, I thought you might enjoy reading Tom Peters “Re-imagine Manifesto!” “Tomato TomAh to.” Though written a few years ago for a corporate audience, I think you’ll find much that speaks to you today.
Peter Block’s new book offers insights for rethinking the way we make change in our communities.