I’ve become a fan of “automatic” and I think you should become one too. It wasn’t long ago that anything operating on “autopilot” or “automatic” was automatically bad in my mind. I would have said, “If it’s important, put your hands on it and make sure it happens right. Automate only the unimportant tasks.”
Well, I’ve had a complete change of heart. Here’s how that happened . . .
One of the things Oneicity works hard to do is to stay current on what the for-profit marketing, management and ad guys are doing. It’s one of our distinctives that pays huge dividends for our nonprofit and ministry clients’ fundraising strategies. Those “for-profit” companies are usually years ahead of nonprofits in terms of strategies, techniques and tools.
Anyway, I’ve been reviewing the offerings of a couple of online relationship management companies who provide powerful, slick tools. I know companies who are using this software and so I know results are excellent.
A key component of these tools is automation. Automating email exchanges. Automating surveys. Automating reporting. Automating call list generation. Automate. Automate. Automate.
The key in business is to watch for actions in your marketing process that are repeated over and over . . . and automate them.
Think about the number of tasks (reports, emails, lists) that you do over and over and over. What if you could automate only half of them? What if you spent time getting the words, process, format, strategy right just once and then it operated automatically?
Or if you could anticipate questions or follow-up and get to your supporters BEFORE they ask the questions?
My head’s spinning with possibilities for development officers, marketing VPs, PR people, volunteer coordinators . . .
And then (of course, you’re way ahead of me), you really have to be in front of your donors with their version of the “automate what’s important” message. At least online, give them the easy option of an automatic monthly gift on their credit card. Having given several online gifts in December, I’m talking about easy for the donor, not easy for the organization. (I hate having to create a login to give a gift — and I’m not alone.)
Acquiring monthly donors is easier to plan than to do. In my experience, most nonprofits can’t and won’t do the necessary processes to recruit and connect with donors who’ll make great monthly givers . . . but it’s worth it. Just don’t get fooled into thinking it’s easy; the process can be automatic, the conversion is not automatic.
But if a donor thinks your cause is worthy and they know you do great work on their behalf . . . then they MIGHT want to “automate what’s important” to them. Again, it’s not easy or simple, but worth it.
What do you think about “automating what’s important”? Do you automate in your professional life? I’d love to hear from you . . . and I’ll respond, maybe automatically.
(photo credit:William Warby