What Have You Tried?

What Have You Tried?

An interesting blog post making the tech community rounds this week is written by Matt Gemmell entitled, “What Have You Tried.” The post has two main points – the problem with looking immediately for answers instead of understanding the problem, and how when asking others for solutions, people should be prepared to have an answer for the question, “what have you tried.”

While the post itself has little to do with nonprofit issues, it highlights an important component of problem solving that is essential for any nonprofit hoping to develop new strategies or platforms. It is exceptionally important to consider the idea of how you have tried to solve this problem in the past before dismissing tools and avenues at your nonprofit’s disposal.

When it comes to social media, oftentimes there is an expectation of immediate and powerful results. When said results never materialize, there is a tendency to abandon these platforms without full investing time and efforts. There are important questions that need to be resolved before moving on – who were you trying to reach via social media? What did you want these individuals to do? Were you following the best practices of the platforms you were attempting to use? Did you have a sense of what content you wanted to share? How often were you posting, and how did you try to get more people invested in your organization? Essentially – what have you tried thus far that hasn’t been working.

Online fundraising is similar – nonprofits have a tendency to dismiss the importance of online fundraising because they haven’t had much success in the area. But an online fundraising strategy is not just having a “Donate Now” button on your nonprofit’s website.  An online fundraising strategy requires research into your intended audience, a communications plan on how to interact with potential and past donors, and needs the right technology to make donation gathering as easy and simple as possible. Have you incorporated your online fundraising efforts into other communication channels? How did you thank your donors who contributed to your organization? Is it easy for those who donate to share their contributions to their friends or family members that might also be interested?

There are no easy solutions when it comes to nonprofit fundraising or communications. Abandoning platforms or diminishing resources because the answer isn’t immediate or the outcome not powerful enough is short-sighted. There is value in these mediums when used correctly and when expectations are realistic. By assessing what has been done in these areas before moving on, nonprofits have the opportunity to expand their audience and grow their income. Again it all comes down to the question – what have you tried?


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