“The key to change… is to let go of fear.” – Rosanne Cash
There was substantial controversy generated by a recent Seth Godin blog. The author chided the nonprofit community for being slow to embrace online social network media, such as Twitter and Facebook. He asserts, rightfully so, that volunteers and supporters would be happy to help spread the word, but far too may nonprofits are hesitant to tap this resource. According to Mr. Grodin, it’s due to a fear of change:
“The only reason not to turn this over to hordes of crowds eager to help you is that it means giving up total control and bureaucracy. Which is scary because it leads to change.”
Although I agree with many of the author’s points, is it really possible that nonprofits – generally speaking – are afraid of change? The author correctly asserts that change is often the very reason that nonprofits exist. People need help. Animals need shelter. Wrongs need to be righted. Nope, nonprofits are all about change.
So perhaps it’s the people running the nonprofits? Are they scared to change? Again, I imagine “change” is a primal motivation for most everyone who works or volunteers at a nonprofit. Many in the nonprofit community are highly motivated, dynamic people who are quite fearless when it comes to doing what’s needed for their cause. They’re downright impatient for change!
So maybe it’s the use of Web 2.0 technology – not everyone is comfortable with social media outlets. Or they’re not sure how to use it to advance their cause. Most nonprofits have limited staff and resources, and they need to justify time spent using social media sites with real, measurable fundraising results. Although most social media sites are free, staff time spent developing a presence is not.
This may be closer to the truth of the fear – if it is fear – that causes nonprofits to hesitate. Whether time or money is invested in a fundraising endeavour, nonprofits need to know there will be a real return on investment. Capital campaigns need to deliver more than just online social capital – donations need to be delivered to pay the bills. Development directors are used to delivering those donations, using their hard-won experience and skill. It’s a leap of faith to give over some of that responsibility of “making the ask” to supporters, no matter how committed they are.
But the thing is, sites like DonorPages work. They deliver the donations. Or more correctly, they allow your supporters to deliver them. True peer-to-peer online fundraising applications are designed to be fundraising sites, not social media sites. They make it easy for supporters, staff, board members and others to collect online donations on your behalf. DonorPages is a great way to “expand your staff”, and give your constituents the tools they need to become an army of effective fundraisers.
Online peer-to-peer fundraising can be the key to unlocking the fundraising potential of your supporters. Make that change, and you’ll find that changing the world will be just a little bit easier.