The difference between digital fundraising & digital marketing
While digital fundraising and digital marketing are incredibly similar in their execution and format, I believe that the messaging and strategies differ greatly, as does the audience motivation and intent. For me, digital fundraising strategies should be centred around the values of gratitude, contribution, community, a better future and most importantly, feeling good.
While digital marketing, at its core, is about changing people’s behaviour and convincing them that they need what you’re selling. Digital fundraising has a deeper human element. Digital fundraising taps into our basic human needs – for love, safety and contribution.
6 basic human needs
Of course there are other basic human needs, being growth, the need for variety and adventure and significance. I do believe that digital fundraising appeals can meet all six of these human needs but rather than trying to be all things to all people, I am a firm believer in staying true to the core message of the story and not trying to dilute it to appeal to the masses. I also believe that Gratitude and love is the key to our heart.
If a digital fundraiser sends me a story that challenges my need for safety, for me and my loved ones, and makes my heart break, I want to get involved, to contribute. I call this compassion. Or gratitude, an appreciation for my privileged position in life. Some others will call it guilt. But if your initial reaction to a fundraising message is guilt, I think that says more about you as a person, that the organisation who is appealing for your support.
Leaving a legacy
One of the other key elements to digital fundraising that I mentioned above is that of striving for a better future. I’m a follower of Dr John Demartini’s work and he believes that our greatest desire in life is to leave a legacy. For many people this legacy materialises in the form of a child. For some it is a business empire, a scientific breakthrough or a social change movement. But for most of us, our greatest legacy that carries on after our death and who keep our memories alive, are our children. And don’t most people want a better future for their children?
Making the world a better place
It is arguable whether or not you see our world as getting better or worse. There are absolutely some great steps forward. Women’s rights have come a long way over the last two centuries. Slavery has been abolished in many western civilisations. But ethnic and racial equality has a long way to go. And if you focus your lens on the not for profit space, at the incredible diversity of causes and issues that are raising money to make change happen, then it would appear, at least on the surface, that we’re on a steep downward trend.
One of the things I remember my Dad telling me when I was younger was “The luckiest thing that ever happened to you was being born white”. As I was his daughter, he probably left out the last part of the sentence. Because in actual fact the luckiest thing that can happen to any person is to be born a white man.
I don’t feel guilty about being white. But I do appreciate that had the universe delivered me as a female baby into a family in Afghanistan, my life would be different. I can’t say for sure if it would be better or worse, but I know it would be different. So because of this, when I receive digital fundraising messages, telling me the story of women in far off countries who are fighting for their right to vote, for their right to be heard as an equal to a man and for their right to an education, I readily donate.
Why I donate online
I want to support these organisations and causes that are trying to make the world a better place. These not for profit organisations who work hard and get paid less than their peers in the private sector so that they can try to secure a better future for current and future generations. I want to be a part of a community that is striving for positive change. I want to contribute to the greater good, so that I can leave a legacy of creating something important.
To me digital fundraising principles are no different to offline fundraising principles. It’s about connecting the message to the intended recipient. I am a conservationist, an advocate for women’s equal rights and basic human rights, a campaigner for marriage equality for homosexual couples and a supporter of organisations who feed and shelter the homeless. I want to receive these messages from not for profit organisations who are trying to do as much as they can to improve the lives of people who are affected by, what can sometimes only be called unfairness.
I can talk forever about how digital fundraising can tell these stories better than offline communication channels. I will tell you why its important to segment your communications based on people’s past behaviour and what interests them. I want every touch-point to be a good experience, that makes it easy for the supporter to take action at the moment of inspiration. But today I just wanted to tell you why I have devoted part of my career to digital fundraising and what it means to me to be part of a global community who want to help bring about change that makes our world just a little bit better.