Monday, September 27, 2010

Winning Support for a Nonprofit - Design Thinking

I'm doing quite a bit of design thinking and sketching right now... finding the intersection between design and everyday life. Life is designed.

If you are involved in a nonprofit, or a school, or the arts, or anything else where you have to continually advocate, it is vitally important to think through your potential supporters' point of view. For example, you can't win a new donor if they don't know you exist, or a fan if they haven't seen what you do. Your job is to help them move along the arrow to the place where they are most comfortable. Some will just be an occasional patron, some will go all the way to being an advocate.

For each step, you ask questions and design your communications to answer them.

I believe that most of the effort should go into those bottom three levels - because a nonprofit needs many oars in the water to thrive. Having the same three ardent supporters all the time might work for some (like if those three supporters are all zillionaires), but it's not really a model that's going to work (what if they don't put you in their will).

If your work is good, those who are enthused about it will naturally move up the arrow.

So ask yourself, how am I building relevance for people who don't know I exist?

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