Radical Fundraising is nothing new.
I’m not suggesting we abandon or replace the best practices that brought us to this point. For me, Radical Fundraising is a reform of existing standards and practices to make them more applicable, and more effective, for today’s increasingly under-resourced fundraising shop.
I use the term under-resourced most often, because this isn’t about big shop versus small shop. ‘Small’ and ‘large’ are relative terms. Bigger is not always better, and small is not always a disadvantage.
In today’s competitive environment, under-resourced can be your competitive advantage.
Under-resourced can mean you’re undervalued. Under the radar. Underestimated by your board, your donors, and maybe even underestimated by the very people you’re trying to help.
It’s precisely this moment when you’re least expected to succeed that an abrupt change in strategy may in fact be the most direct path to success. It’s now that you are most able to implement a radical new style of fundraising. Here are 5 starting points for you to consider. How many could you pull off?
1. Radical Recognition: Stop calling people that support you ‘donors’ altogether. Call them campaigners, call them activists, call them shit disturbers and radicals. If they’re standing with you to create social change, that’s what they are.
2. Radical Stewardship: Throw segmentation out the window, and treat every donor like they’ve helped move mountains. When you run out of hours in the day, recruit volunteers to help.
3. Radical Fundraisers: It can be possible to strike a balance between a suit-wearing “professional” and a flag-waving activist. We don’t have to choose one or the other.
4. Radical Roles: The archetype of the ruthless campaign operative doesn’t have to stay relegated to politics. Regardless of sector we can be just as ruthless while remaining principled and respectful, exhaustingly thorough yet nimble.
5. Radical Skills: The movement needs tech-savvy, data-driven decision makers to move in lock step with communication specialists that can strike with a succinct, simplistic, bone chilling call to action that can’t be ignored. Better yet, we need people that can do both.