The next big thing
This time I really think I have discovered the next big thing. It’s been staring me in the face for ages and my mind has been hinting at me for a long time, but things have finally clicked! We’ve all been worrying about how to raise money from digital activity and there have been successes, but precious few that we can copy and roll out with. We’d all love to repeat the Charlie Simpson phenomenon but we simply don’t know how to.
I think that’s because we’ve been looking at digital fundraising with entirely the wrong set of specs. We’ve tended to use the same fundraising mindset that we had for direct marketing or other traditional forms of fundraising.
We’ve got to make a real leap in our thinking. As we think of communities in the new digital world, we must think of crowds rather than communities: groups of people who come together and dissipate much more rapidly than any traditional community.
Crowds are unruly and don’t follow predictable paths. Some crowds will form with the minimum of effort – other crowds never form. We’ve all been embarrassed when we are the only person to clap or when our attempt at a Mexican wave fails miserably. Yet how thrilling it is when we do start to applaud or a wave!
The crucial mindset that we need to change to is to embrace the thinking of the fast moving consumer goods market, where 90% of products never make money, but the 10% that do, do so big time. We need to be lobbing lots of virtual pebbles into the virtual pond, expecting 90% of them to fail. We need to encourage our supporters to lob pebbles into the pond as well. Eventually, we shall have a success – almost certainly a success we cannot repeat. But that’s the point – the virtual world doesn’t follow the nice test-retest-rollout model. The model now is try it – succeed – forget it, or try it – fail – forget it! But keep trying!!