What Comes Next? TheThanksTank.com™ Roundtable’s Critical Question

October 1st, 2010

Today we sparked out-of-the-box thinking (over boxed lunches) with multimedia donor recognition experts, Harv Mock and James Graham of Planned Legacy and a select group of forward thinking non-profit professionals, discussing the role of new media in donor recognition.  The conversation started with an overview of the “perfect storm” of fundraising and donor communication demands that created the need for more dynamic, engaging communication tactics, leading to the influx of electronic and interactive displays.  Harv and James were able to show examples of multimedia presentations in several formats and demonstrate the versatility of electronic recognition; the slides from today’s presentation are included here.

Our guests, however, pushed the conversation further, posing the critical question:  what comes next?

From the fundraiser’s point-of-view, electronic displays are a viable enhancement of the traditional donor wall, yet they are still anchored in the facility.  Even portable methods indicate “presenting” a message, when in fact, current marketing strategies – not to mention donor demand – seem to indicate that we must to provide an motivating experience via the online arenas facilitated by Web 2.0 venues, such as Facebook, Twitter and You-Tube.

Easy solutions and ready examples aren’t yet available, so we turned to identifying likely avenues for creating that “new way”.  It is imperative that those building meaningful donor recognition, stewardship and cultivation tools look outside the pool of existing examples and borrow directives from other industries.  Primarily, what constitutes success in for-profit and entertainment driven markets and how can those models be applied to our forays into truly new methods for delivering philanthropic communication?

This topic will not be resolved in a single discussion, nor will the first applications of these new models solve all the issues in a single pass.  Experimentation and repeat analysis will be required to determine what practices will resonate with donors and deliver greater giving.  Virtual experiences (coupled with all the traditional models of stewardship and cultivation) are clearly “what comes next”.

Review the slides that guided our discussions yesterday. Comments/questions welcomed here, and certainly via phone or email.  These are important considerations for anyone planning to embark on multimedia solutions to donor recognition.

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