Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Your Charity More Important Than Netflix?

A couple of years ago Netflix raised their prices by about 50% and they lost about 800,000 customers. That sounds bad until you realise it was only about 4% of their customer base and the move saw the Netflix executives riding their golden Segways all the way to the bank.

I started thinking...What would happen if your charity decided to increase all of its monthly donors' gifts by 50%?

Well...it would be bad. Sure, a good upgrade call would do it, but I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to make the increase without asking their donors first.

But hang on...Is it fair to compare Netflix and your charity?

Netflix provides entertainment when their customers want it. Some of the stories are sad, some are harrowing (OMG...Owen in the crate in Boardwalk Empire!), some are funny and inspirational. Strong characters, twists and turns, cliffhangers. So many tears. And at the end of every story they guide you towards the next one...and they know just what you like.

Wait a minute...isn't that what your charity's fundraising department does? Or what it should be doing?

'Storytelling' is the word most likely to be beaten to death at this year's fundraising conferences (Move over 'donor-centric'. Get lost 'innovation'.)

There's a reason for that. You love stories. You respond to them. You can't get enough of them...if they're good. If your donor communications were great you could send a newsletter every day. If the way you tell your charity's stories suck then even one newsletter a year is too much.

Imagine your donors hanging on your every word. Imagine if they anticipated your next YouTube video they way they anticipate the next season of True Detectives. Imagine if they binged on your website like the time I watched 18 episodes of the US Office in a single day.

It's not far-fetched.

You can compete with Netflix because your cause is infinitely more important.

So tell me - if one of your monthly donor decides to cancel a direct debit then which would be the first to go: You or Netflix?

And let's not even broach the subject of Potato Salad being more entertaining than you...

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