At the National Religious Broadcasters Convention I hosted a table top discussion on fundraising. We’ve had several requests for the notes from that meeting, so here you go!
#1. One of our participants, John, suggested that one of the best places to “raise money” is by reducing expenses. He talked about his personal involvement in streamlining the processing of donations (handling them once for both banking and thanking) and finding the best “rates” for credit card processing. It may only be 1 or 2%, but it can add up over the course of the year.
I was reminded of Matthew 15:21
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
#2. Joe talked about how they started video streaming basketball games at their University. They are engaging alumni and expect that the long term effect will be to increase the effectiveness of fundraising appeals as alumni feel more connect to the University no matter where they are.
#3. The discussion moved to the importance of setting up a web presence that encourages user-generated content. This can be scary, but it is a critical step for any organization that wants to engage a younger audience, which of course you must do if you are going to survive.
#4. Going back to reducing expense, we talked about the cost of streaming video and how to reduce it. I let our group in on a little secret – Infinity Concepts is working on a solution we believe will bring the cost of live streaming down to make it accessible to even the smallest ministries and churches.
#5. The next idea that surfaced was connecting the various campuses of the University by live-streaming so that the cost of creating content was reduced. A professor who did a lecture on his trip to Israel could make it available to sister institutions over the web. The professors lecture would get wider exposure at no additional cost and the sister Universities get access to information they would not otherwise be able to receive.
#6. Consolidation of Brand identity. The issue of “content” verses “medium” was raised. Are you a “content provider” or are you a “medium”. Do people interact with your ministry because you publish a magazine or because what you print is what they want to hear? Do people watch your program because you are on TV, or because your content is compelling?
It is critical that you understand that, to survive in the future, you must figure out why you have an audience and make sure that you reach that audience where ever they are, not just in the way you are used to providing. This ties back into #2 through #4.
Figuring out your brand and making sure it is communicated across all your media outlets in a consistent way will end up helping you raise money because your donors will be engaged in your identity no matter where they interact with you, raising their comfort level, and their donations.
#7. This one is for you. Comment below on what you think #7 should be…