The commodity of connection

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If your organisation relies on government funding for survival no doubt you’re starting to get a bit worried about the future.  A few weeks ago I posted an introduction to Evolve Network’s ‘giving’ series which commenced with the feature on giving that brings community together.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some ideas with you about engaging philanthropic investors in your organisation and pretty soon you’ll be invited to attend a free webinar on fundraising that goes over and beyond government funding.  Make sure you find out more about the webinar by joining our priority list.

When it comes to philanthropic funding it’s not unusual for organisations to seek out the big end of town as the first point of call.  Afterall, the big philanthropic outfits (think Fairfax family, Ian Potter Foundation etc.) manage their giving in a very similar fashion to government funding – an application process, a set of criteria, timeframes, reporting and maybe some schmoozing. So it’s a safe, known and comfortable means for organisations to sidestep full reliance on government funding.

But what about the thousands of everyday people who donate their time, money, skills and stuff to charitable purposes?

The individual cheques may not equate to that of the bigger guys but the cool thing, should you choose to see it that way is that there are a whole lot more potential investors / donors to potentially attract.

There’s no doubt the likes of World Vision or Amnesty International have the marketing budgets to attract a large portion of this donor segment, however social media campaigns such as YouTube video of Bus Monitor Karen Klein which raised over $600,000 (the original target was $5,000 to give Karen a vacation) have created a shift in that equation.

Now that anyone can potentially reach a massive audience on a miniscule (if any) marketing budget there’s a new paradigm in play:


In October we spoke with Violeta who attributes giving to her sense of connection:

“I’m a big believer in the power of stories in the power as a connector.  I feel that I understand what drives them, the very basic level, their issues and for that brief moment when I decide I’m going to support them, that’s our little connection, our contribution to the link we all have.  I’m here for you, you’re here for me, we are in this together.

The connection message echoed through my December interviews.

Jackie Barreau, for example donates to two charities because of her connection to the brought about by personal experiences:

 (I donate to) “The Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation as it is the only charity that supports the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Our funds go direct to the Palliative Care Service after our son Luke lost his battle with cancer. The palliative care service supported us through his final weeks. I also wrote a book and a percentage of the sales also go to this cause. The other organisation is The Unicorn Foundation (AUS/NZ) and this is due our eldest daughter’s recent diagnosis of a rare disease or neuroendocrine tumour (NETS).”

When I asked a dozen people why they donate all spoke of a connection of some sort be it through personal experience of an illness or problem or a bigger, more potent sense of obligation or duty to give.

And if connection is the gold chip of fundraising how might an organisation go about not only creating it but also leveraging the connection for donations?

We’ll be exploring just this over the next two days so stay tuned.

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