Incorporating New Strategies For Non-Profit 2019: [Change is a Good Thing]

Handwriting text Marketing 2019. Concept meaning New Year Market Strategies Fresh start Advertising Ideas written Cardboard Paper hanging on rope the plain background Clip.

Out with the old in with the new

Out with the old and in with the new, change is a good thing.  Adaptive Strategy may not be what it once was, and it too has had to occur adaptation.  The shortcoming of a traditional approach to strategic planning is the tendency to ‘set it and forget it.’  This is not the case anymore.  From the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “New development from the disciplines of innovation, data science, and implementation management is teaching us that good strategy isn’t just about setting your destination and path, it’s also about how you execute and adjust over time.”

New Strategies

Now, incorporate this to how it applies to Nonprofit organizations. Change is a Good Thing so think of the whole ‘new strategy’ as a blueprint to build a house.  First, an architect needs to draw or build the plan.  After that, it takes a lot more to execute until you have a finished, successful product (hopefully a new home).  It is one thing to ‘just’ draw it out and hope for the best, those days are gone.  Be prepared, as electricians, plumbers, framers or you name it, make changes.  It is ineffable, and Nonprofit organizations are no different.  

Some key suggestions to take into consideration:

(1) Just because it worked in the past does not mean it will work or apply to today.  Do not limit your horizons, widen your aperture.  The world is full of indefinite possibilities.   Assuming that what worked in the past will still be successful today or in the future may hold your organization from growth.  

(2) Management is imperative to success.  Using the house building       analogy, what would a construction site look like without an effective Contractor guiding the way?  Leadership is a must.  What we have learned from the innovative space is about the importance of designing and managing experiments.  Leadership then can assess and adapt for ultimate results.  

(3) Analyzing Data Science can be something very mundane, all too often nonprofit organizations simply pass data about their performance straight from evaluator to funder.  The data is vital but what would also be critical is real-time management.  Information that is needed to be more effective on a day-to-day base and to adjust decision making accordingly.  

(4) Communication and execution are optimal to fuel productivity.   In working with our clients in recent years, we have seen time and again that it is one thing to develop an adaptive strategy, and quite another to successfully execute one.  Become familiar with your current operational reality.   The blueprint may be relatively easy to draw out; however, you must know how to implant and ultimately execute.  

(5) Think of the word strategy as a verb versus a noun.   Even in the fast pace demands of today’s business, this can be a hard adaption for some to make.   It’s just as much about how you implement and adjust your direction in an ongoing way as it is about setting your vision and initial plan.  

Embrace Change

In summary, embrace change. Change is a Good Thing for Nonprofit Organizations who need to continually adapt, have strong leadership, keep open to new ideas, use technology for growth, communicate and make your strategy active.

For Profit vs. Nonprofit

“What’s Good for the Goose ‘Should’ be Good for the Gander”

This is a common phrase that denotes, “What is good for a man is equally good for a woman; or, what a man can have or do, so can a woman have or do.”  We hope this should be the case.  AND should be no different for the concepts of For-Profit verses that of Nonprofit sectors.   The same rules should apply!

In an earlier blog, I hope you are following Influence the Cause, I admitted to being part of Generation X (1965-1980).  I am going to refer back to an incredibly special charity event to lead into our blog topic for today, stemming from my generation.   In 1985, a massive epitomic of starvation was devastating parts of Africa, especially that of drought-stricken Ethiopia.   The greatest of Rock N’ Roll royalty gathered together to create a benefit concert ‘Live Aid.’  Most famously, they collaborated the top chartering song We Are The World.  With Artist Lionel Richie leading the lyrics out with: 

“There comes a time When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all.”

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation

What is the point?  Let’s look at Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.    Does nonprofit have anything to do with changing the world or is it all driven by big business.  Both!  Nonprofit and Philanthropy is a market of love, for those that have no other.  Hence, the reference to We Are The World. The two need each other, but the frustrations of Nonprofit are the rules are not the same.

One example of this is in views of marketing, advertising, and fundraising.   In For-Profit it is entirely acceptable for them to spend on advertising that will build more donations for the Cause of their choice.   It makes that ‘Big Business X’ look like a star.   “Look, look, look” how much money we raised for Cancer or Childhood Hunger.  This does not apply to Nonprofit, who get crucified for having donation dollars going towards ANY overhead.   News flash, overhead is not negative.  By having this train of thought, it forces charities to forego what they need to do to grow.   What if some of those donation dollars did go towards advertising, in return would give MORE money to the Cause.    Just like For-Profit does, this should also be acceptable for Nonprofit.  

Big Business vs For Profit and Nonprofit

Why do we need both Big Business For-Profit and Nonprofit, how do they work together?  True, Big Business carry about 90% of the charity donation base, but what about the OTHER 10%?  This is where Nonprofit picks up the pieces and aids, the Philanthropist make sure no one is left behind.   But this Social Business needs a market.  As Dan Pallotta stated in one of his speaking seminars titled The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong, saying “when you prohibit failure, you kill innovation.”

Change Perception

It is time to change the perception that Overhead is not negative in the Nonprofit sector if that overhead moves the Cause forward and benefits more people.

Fundraising Trends 2019

Follow Fundraising Trends 2019 Style!

Adding a personal touch.  It’s no longer enough to use one generic marketing strategy and try to appeal to a very divers base of donors.  Do your homework and specialize your approach, know who your audience is.  AND make it fun, remember gamification


E-mail, used effectively, can be extremely effective in communicating to donors.   Take Eblast for an example, what is an Eblast; simply an email campaign.  A standard industry term used in email marketing to describe the act of “blasting” a message out to a group of hundreds or thousands of people simultaneously, similar to the act of “blasting” a verbal message out with a loud speaker.  But be careful to avoid sending too many, or messages that require more than 30 seconds to get your message across. The last thing you want to do is have potential donors think you are “spamming” them. 


Big business versus non-profit is a love/hate relationship.  However, corporate sponsorships can be a boom to any fundraising campaignit is a payment by a business to a nonprofit to further the nonprofit’s mission, that is generally recognized by the nonprofit with an acknowledgement that the business has support the nonprofit’s activities programs, or special events.” (

Yes, it can be all about sponsorships.   A little more into my background, I am an Arabian horse enthusiast and breeder.   Competing in Arabian horse shows worldwide, these shows can and will not exist without major sponsorships, nonprofit is no different.  Simple, maximize on companies wanting to assist their workforce, they want to help, use this to your benefit and of course your CAUSE.  


This is referred to as recurring gifting.   Referencing back to Understanding Generational Donationthe largest donation base of the Baby Boomer Generation prefers this method.  Optimize a system like Donorbox to promote recurring donations and use email marketing as a great form of communication.  


Nonprofits should embrace different committees and appreciate the causes they support. Together, committees with missions similar to yours can broaden your donor and volunteer base. Be accessible to your donors, bridge that gap between the organization and the donors, make it personable.  Also, by increasing your brand you increase your community that will result in victory for all.  


Allow technology to work for you!  While you may need to find and recruit tech-savvy folks to help, you can develop a messenger app, much like Facebook Messenger or a chatbot to instantly connect with your Generation Z potential donor base.  Communication is everything, and you can also use technology for data analysis.  


Donors want to know how their hard-earned, generously given dollars are impacting. Don’t hesitate to be transparent about what you collect regularly, thus being fully accountable to you donor base. 


Social media is not going away, but platforms continue to grow and change. Recognize those changes and identify how to adapt accordingly.  It might seem redundant, or you may feel as if you can’t ever catch up, but Generation Z’s won’t appreciate a stagnant platform.


Straightforward, everyone wants to donate the easiest way possible – two, maybe four clicks at most. Look to apps such as PayPal to facilitate digital donations. 

Influence The Cause