November 25, 2013

Sometimes I wonder if we sufficiently realize that various things are quite different. What happens when we don’t realize that these various things are indeed different? I suspect we don’t invest sufficient time and the right resources. I suspect we don’t engage the right people in the right way for the right end.

For example:

  • Event, program, or movement: Is that thing you are doing a one-off event, a longer-term program…Or have you started a movement?
  • Program or organization: Is your mission (and very existence) really an organization or a program that belongs inside another organization? I see too many organizations struggling to be independent nonprofit organizations, when they are really only a program (albeit a great program) that should be part of another organization.
  • Status quo or change: Are you embracing the status quo – unknowingly or intentionally – instead of exploring change? Are you most comfortable with the status quo? Or can you commit to change?
  • Invite or ask: Is there a difference between “inviting” and “asking?” Is the difference only in my mind? Or is there some subtle but important distinction in the experience you offer me as a donor or volunteer or customer? Are you inviting me…or just asking?
  • Buyers or givers: When I think about fundraising events, my mind goes to buying. People are buying a product. I just read some research (but don’t remember where!) about people attending fundraising events. Many of those purchasers don’t care about the nonprofit – and don’t even remember which nonprofit it is. Many are buying a ticket to an event because they like the event or want to hang out with friends or… Do you want buyers or givers?
  • Features and benefits. Activities or impact: There is a difference between features and benefits. It’s a fundamental and critically important difference in communications. Another angle is activities or impact. Good fundraising and good sales focus on benefits, not features. Top-notch organizations – nonprofits or for-profits – describe impact and results, not activities.
  • Recognize or understand: Do you want me to recognize why you matter? Or do you want me to understand? Recognition seems more limited, more surface. Understanding, well that’s different. With understanding, I might become part of the tribe. With understanding, I could join the fight to make change.

So… What do you think?

Filed under: Nonprofit Management

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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