The Future of Social Fundraising.
Brace your feeds for a number of “me too” campaigns doing similar antics in hopes of gaining a fraction of the IBC success. We suspect social communities won’t have a lot of patience for it for the exact same reason the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a success.
- “Been there done that:” Calling out your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to do something crazy to raise awareness or money won’t be avant-garde enough to get the mass appeal of the original campaign
- The magic is gone: Exponential growth becomes impossible when you can’t get critical mass to take up the banner. No matter how important the cause, it will quickly become drudgery.
Scrutiny on Spending.
The IBC is a social miracle. It’s the non-profit equivalent of the average Joe hitting the lottery. And just as it is with the newly minted millionaire, the ALSA will receive its share of visits from “long-lost cousins” and seemingly can’t miss research and fundraising opportunities. Will the organization have the discipline and experience to focus its efforts properly and keep greedy hands out of the cookie jar? If not, the media will be ready to pounce.
Greater Discretion of Giving.
While the uptake of the challenge is undeniable, there is also sub-discussion in social media about whether all this giving and dumping is really responsible. At first blush it sounds unreasonable, however, I encourage you to read Mike Rowe’sFacebook post on August 27th. He put together a really compelling and polite argument for why he’s choosing not to participate.
Additionally, how well the ALSA manages its newly found funds will likely impact not only the future of their organization’s fundraising efforts but other large-scale non-profits as well. Anything that makes donors uneasy could have a spillover effect on other worthy charities. If the funds aren’t believed to be put to good use, cynicism could win out over generosity and wallets will become tightened for other charities.
What the ALSA Needs to do Next.
Here are 3 things that the ALSA needs to get right in the near term to ensure long term success:
- Outline a new vision. The association didn’t really ask for these funds, they were an unexpected gift. It’s likely their strategic plan didn’t account for this windfall either. It owes its donors a new plan that outlines how these funds will help them achieve their goals.
- Keep the new donors engaged in order to support the organization on an ongoing basis. What a tremendous success this campaign has been in not only raising money but also awareness on a disease that’s been forced to the shadows. The association now has a base that they must continue to educate. How well it harnesses its base in the next 12-months will set a trajectory on fundraising in the future. It must turn these new donors into ambassadors for the cause, and repeat donors, if it is to sustain the research necessary for a cure
- Be disciplined and transparent in its use of funds. Make sure the donors understand how their money is making a difference. People need to know their money is funding the cure, not fueling the jet. This means that everyone in the association is held to a high standard of accountability and responsibility for showing how it spent donor money.