Digital innovation is essential but the real battle we face is indifference
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
-Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel
I’ll add another thought.
"Indifference is in the mind of the supporter, not your organization."
Most organizations are not indifferent about their supporters, they love them. But this appreciation is not always felt by their donors, and too many nonprofits believe modern digital engagement will bridge the gap.
Most of my clients are investing in the digital requirements supporters place on them. It’s needed, but too many are only innovating their technology. Recently I facilitated a strategic planning process in which the organization listened intently to supporters in their 20's & 30's. This quote stopped me:
“If you don’t make it easy for me to give, I’ll not care what your cause is. I might fill out a form once, but if I have to fill out a form again I’ll not take the time.”
Heads nodded in agreement around the table. Such innovation is essential, but the misnomer is the belief the desired digital experience will produce loyalty. It won’t. This comment reflects an indifference to the organization’s cause. The technology will not matter if the cause is not something you cement in the supporter’s mind and experience.
The opposite of indifference is high satisfaction.
Try this. Think of an organization that provides such a consistently satisfying experience that you have become a loyal and vocal advocate. Most of us quickly think of three or more reasons, and we openly tell others. For nonprofits, this is the opposite of indifference; the ability to instantly recite the multiple features of a loved organization.
Do you provide an experience that compels supporters to list three or more features that consistently draw you to them?
Would they say you:
Keep them informed of the value of their support, in ways that matter to them?
Newsletters, inspiring success stories, progress reports
Call them to show them they’re important?
Say thanks, invite you to events, ask your opinion
Personally spend quality time with them?
Provide updates, seek your feedback
Hold forums or meetings to illuminate your work and progress?
Invite them, inform them, inspire them
Digital innovation is the cost of doing business, a threshold competency that helps you tap into a donor. But the thriving nonprofit keeps their supporters by helping them feel valued, informed, and inspired. Keep innovating, but keep the personal touch required to build loyalty and stave off indifference. And enjoy the bonus when they do; they will tell others about you!