“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”

Seth Godin

At Ascendio we do a lot of thinking around how technology can bridge the gap between the collecting and leveraging of data. In our world this typically deals with how organizations relate to donors (and potential donors) online.

What is the most effective way to ask for information or a gift?  Why would someone want to give to our organization vs another? Is there something that causes people to abandon this process? What happens next?

While these are important questions, they can’t be answered in the vacuum of web or non-web. You can’t throw technology at a perceived problem and hope it will go away. Like any solution, a web solution must be crafted within the context in which it is being deployed.

Who is my audience? What type of relationship do we have? What type of relationship do we want to have? How can an online interaction impact this relationship?

When we only think about tools (i.e. websites, stores, integrations, emails, etc), we often only address improving what currently exists.  I’ve seen many organizations spend time and money upgrading unnecessary tools—mostly because of siloed teams, siloed decision making, and over-prioritizing organizational function needs vs donor relationships and expectations.

But if we fail to think holistically about our audience, we won’t know which solutions will yield the most value. This is an important distinction because the most sophisticated website or app will fail if it doesn’t address the needs of its audience and have specific, measurable goals.

Zooming out on this, it matters because people matter.

It is people who support causes and become donors.  These donors become partners.  And these partners become advocates for your cause.

When we don’t respond to donors needs or expectations, they don’t cease to care about a cause. Nor do they cease to be donors. They just often cease to be “your” donor.

And the key word here is “respond”.  It’s not about giving the keys to an organization over to donors. But the value of understanding and communicating with the very people who fuel your cause is immeasurable.

The gap between collecting and leveraging data is a space that is often best filled by shortening the distance between donors and the impact their dollars make.

Try it out.  It’s amazing how discovering the right solution to so many “technology” problems begin with a conversation.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.