For sometime we have seen the symptoms of a broken fundraising model such as a falling response rates and rising costs. Until you fully understand the root cause its difficult to apply the remedy. Now add a layer of dissatisfied members of the public exasperated by adverse press coverage. Mistakenly many thought it was just the impact of a global recession
Go to any book store and you will find plenty of publications from thought leaders on how the rules of sales and marketing have changed such as Sticky Marketing by Grant Leboff and The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman-Scott. Although they are not written for non-profits you can start to understand why fundraising is no longer so effective. If the rules of sales and marketing have changed they surely so have the rules of fundraising.
Currently much of fundraising is organised into separate units. The focus is how to get more money out of you – move you up the donor pyramid. It is very response driven and doesn't make use of social capital. In fact it works against you – if someone has a bad experience which is more likely to happen when you adopt this approach they can easily share it because they are a channel – and if they hear of a bad experience (say in the press) it reinforces their own one.
The fundraising model is broken
Traditional style marketing is like a funnel – it’s a numbers game – how to target the many to get the few.
We often use the analogy of a leaky bucket when talking about a donor base. The focus is on attrition and retention and how to replenish the bucket.