Fear or fear not… a massive disruption in the fundraising industry? That is the question!

It seems like everyone is saying they are disrupting this or that these days.
Lots of people wear it as a badge of honor whether they are really making change or not. They want to be seen as disruptors but usually, they’re just making noise.
But then there’s me.
Some people call me a disruptor. Others think I’m just making noise. And, then there are those that feel I’m just a huge pain in the ass! 🙂
But whether you feel I’m a disruptor or not doesn’t really matter. What’s important is how disruption in the fundraising industry affects you. Should it be feared or embraced?
I think it should be feared, but not for the reasons you might think. Here’s why:
Back when I sold direct marketing (printing and mailing) to nonprofits in the DC region, I made a huge sign and put it above my cubicle’s desk to ensure that I’d read it each morning.
In bold black letters, it simply read: “Complacency Is A Prelude To Disaster!
Having it there consistently reminded me to fear a false sense of security. That motivated me to always look over my shoulder and never rest on my laurels.
In that regard, I feared disruption, but for a good reason— to drive me forward and help me improve. To help me turn fear into a positive, not a negative.
That’s because when fear is viewed as a negative, it paralyzes you or drives you to run and hide. To seek shelter.
But when it’s viewed as a positive, fear inspires creative thinking that leads to innovation and myriad opportunities.
Of course, the printing industry almost evaporated in the blink of an eye.
So I’m no longer selling direct marketing. Instead, I now lead a fast-growing, disruptive technology-enabled services company. Stalwarts in the sector fear us.
But should they? Or should they look at our existence as an opportunity?
Many have already channeled their fear positively to find opportunity. They have allied with us.
Will you?  

Related Posts:

>>Complacency is a prelude to disaster
>>I am a disruptor

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Don L Eisenberg
Don L Eisenberg
5 years ago

Your thoughts are well-taken.
Based on my mailbox, though, printed info/solicitations aren’t dead just yet, but I’m a Boomer, and they I’m somewhat more likely to abide print.
I agree we should approach every day w/ eyes wide open, running the scenarios to keep us alert to market/donor changes.
We are mesmerized by Millennials but sometimes perhaps neglecting their elders, who are better donors (while they last).
My wonderment is what if Millennials and younger are drastically less generous (due to concerns about job, future, retirement, etc) than their parents and grandparents- what does that portend for the growing mass of nonprofits, especially in the U.S.?

5 years ago

Thanks Don.
You are correct, print solicitations are not dead. And they’ll never totally die.
Don, don’t worry about whether or not an entire generation is less generous. It’s always a small group of people that makes up the bulk of the giving. Right now, 1/10% (yes… that’s one tenth of just one percent) make up almost 1/3 of all giving.
It’s not about generations, it’s about connecting people with capacity with ways they can find meaning in their lives through impactful generosity.
Focus and delivering value to people who deserve it most and can make the most impact is the key.

5 years ago

Well written article,
I do agree with every point made in the article on how to view disruption in the fundraising industry.
My question is, How can you counter attack the fear and the criticism in the fundraising industry which can affect you as an individual or an company?

5 years ago
Reply to  Arwinder
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