Fundraisers around the world are talking about how fundraising will change over the next ten years. These comments are being collected on a wiki site courtesy of the Management Centre in the UK. I caused a bit of a fuss yesterday on twitter when I questioned the lack of diversity in the responses.
Each of us is responsible for our own response. Here is my contribution to the discussion:
How will donors be different in 2020? And how will they be the same?
Donors are onto us. They know this game. Donors will continue to want to take more control over their giving by linking more directly to the cause and being more involved in our programs. Venture Philanthropy or Philanthrocapitalism is evolving faster than the charitable sector. I believe many donors feel they could do our jobs better. Sadly in many cases they probably can.
We need to rethink the traditional model of a charitable organization and more specifically the role of fundraisers in the relationship. We must be more entrepreneurial about how we do business.
Which geographic markets will emerge more strongly as sources of funds?
By 2020 the global south will be making significant in roads as the sector leader. This will be the result of a number of factors: the population growth, extreme need and the gap between the wealthy and the destitute. In general the fundraisers I have met from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan are hungrier, more determined and less complacent than many fundraisers I have met closer to home. They are constantly looking beyond their organization to learn more. This determination will serve them well as the sector in the global south grows.
The global south is the new frontier of fundraising and since many of the smaller organizations have that entrepreneurial spirit and are not bound by decades of traditional ‘by the book fundraising’ – they are better positioned for impact and to respond to the changing marketplace.
By 2020 charities in the global south will have the competitive edge over larger North American and UK charities. Many North American and UK charities will need to see beyond the equator and learn from fundraisers in the south where the sector is advancing at a phenomenal rate.
How will technologies for fundraising be different in 2020?
Our work in the charitable sector is mostly about building relationships with people to find out if our cause aligns with their personal interests and values - if it does we offer them the opportunity to become engaged with our organization. To do this well we depend on various communication channels and networking. Most of these activities will be online in 2020.
It is fundamentally important for fundraisers to learn how to use online social networks not just to connect with each other and stay current in our thinking but to engage our next generation of donors. The internet is creating a global marketplace. Smaller organizations in particular are better able to respond quickly and adapt to this new medium.
“Communication” is no longer about sending our message out and hoping to get a donation back. It’s about a dialogue, providing a forum for discussion and being flexible and transparent enough to truly listen to what our online community is telling us. Successful charities in 2020 will need to be comfortable watching as constituents talk about us with each other!
In ten years we will still have direct mail, corporate giving, and personal one on one major gift solicitations. However, many of those relationships will start with an organizations online presence. We will be tested on line first before anyone agrees to having lunch or attending an event in person.
What other issues will be important for fundraising?
There are simply too many of us. There are too many charities doing the same thing. We need to be more efficient and stop duplicating services and administrative functions. We will need to set aside ego and territorialism and sincerely look at how we can partner with each other. It is time for true innovation and collaboration.
Environmental charities will exponentially increase their market share. But only the organizations that provide real solutions, working with corporations and government instead of advocating against. The global community* wants to seek solutions to environmental problems and the ENGO’s are the natural partners to provide support and answers.
The fundraiser who will be on top of their game in 2020 will:
• Find the vision above exhilarating.
• Will be constantly learning and working to improve not just themselves and their organizations – but the entire third sector.
• Will challenge the status quo and constantly be asking: Why? Is there a better way? Does this make sense?
• Will cherish every dollar they raise as if it came from their own bank account and will spend it wisely.
In ten years I will be fifty one years old and will have been working as a fundraiser for twenty years. By then I hope to have made a small mark on improving the world for my children and accomplishing my personal objective to secure a place as a hero in their – what will be by then – adult hearts.
The only possible way I can do this is by responding to the change in the third sector as best I can and helping others do the same – for there is only one certainty, there will be significant change.
Thank you for spending time here.
*except maybe the current Canadian government but we can hold out hope!