Ken Burnett, in his book the Zen of Fundraising, teaches us, that as fundraisers, we should strive to be 15 minutes ahead. This mindset allows us to step back from being the master innovators of massive change and enforces the idea that we should do the best with what is currently available to us.
If we use present technologies like electronic data capture devices at acquisition, balanced with basic CRM logic, a well-trained supporter care team and intuitive general artificial intelligence, we can offer our donors a more enhanced and much more personalised experience that puts them back in control of their journey whilst nudging them in a direction that proves most effective for all parties. This way, the charities get the vital income and the donors get the good feelings.
But let’s take a small step back.
The best of what already exists includes getting the basics right. I’m 100% with Mr Burnett’s thinking, but there is little point romanticising about what we could achieve if budgets were no issue if we cannot debit our donors on time and thank them for their gift. If we fail to train our suppliers and keep them on the same page as us, we shouldn’t be imagining the impact of a virtual reality headset strapped to the face of every donor.
Can we ‘blue-sky’ the basic?
I think not. If you believe that the basics are not grounded or in touch with the realities of the present, you are probably standing toe-to-toe with a floundering fundraising fiasco. You might need to adapt your expectations.
Your systems should be set up to achieve the basics. KPI reporting, a sound debiting process, regular thank you communications that share your achievements and challenges, and a simple but effective saves, cancellations and reactivations program are the bedrock for your f2f program to be built upon. Blue-sky thinking is for charities that have these set up and have earned the comfort of dreaming about ‘what if…’ rather than panicking about ‘wtf’.