Random Thoughts on Life and Work

January 8, 2016

The Effects of Giving

PBS Newshour had an interesting segment during the show on January 7. A University of British Columbia research team conducted a small study on the effects of giving in toddlers and then carried it beyond to college students and adults. In the study, they found that even young toddlers express happiness when giving something to others.

I suspect anyone in fund-raising/fund-development will tell you, “duh” to the concept that it is actually a pleasurable experience to give. One of the interesting (and again, not new) findings in the study is that people who have the opportunity to see and/or experience the impact of their giving are even happier than those who just gave to a general “fund”. However, how often do organizations get caught up in trying to raise funds so that “we can accomplish our mission.”?

You likely saw the UNICEF and/or ASPCA commercials during the holiday season. What struck me about those efforts was the fact that there was no impact of my gift. All I saw was a portrayal of a very negative situation with a statement – help us help them.  I have to confess, I was extremely turned off by the ads finding them very ineffective at telling me how either of these organizations do anything positive. Where were the impact/results pictures?

Watch the PBS segment and then consider your own communications. What are you telling your readers/listeners/site visitors? Are you telling them why they should support you? Or are you telling them that their gift has changed the life of Samuel who now has his own bed or Mary who can go to school because now there is clean water right in her village?

March 31, 2011

The Value Proposition

Filed under: Non-Profit — Darren Mullenix @ 7:18 am
Tags: , , ,

I heard a statement (third-hand delivery) yesterday that had me chuckling.  It went something like this,  “We have over 200K followers on Facebook and twitter.  Not a single dollar has been given from this group.”

Do you suppose the person making this statement has missed the point?  Working in a non-profit brings with it some interesting challenges.  Not least of which is the concern about the source of donations.  Unfortunately, this individual, responsible for overall communications, is unable to grasp the value of activity that does not generate directly attributable dollars.   And because of that, is unable to provide a clear vision for how community based activity adds value to the organization outside of the pure dollar effects.

How do you value your social media activity?  Is it an integral part of your communication strategy or is it done because “everyone else is doing it”?

Consider the value proposition of every activity.  Determine how you will ascribe value.  If it doesn’t add value to the organization, don’t do it.

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