Friday, 17 January 2014

Buzzword: a term or phrase that sounds good, but means nothing.

Buzzword: The real dictionary defines it as: "a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, field of study, popular culture, etc."

Urban Dictionary has a number of definitions. I like this one: "a term or phrase that sounds good, but means nothing."

Here are a few of my fundraising favourites together with some light-hearted thoughts and potential definitions!

Donor: the person (which should include you and me), that gives money and keeps us in a job. 

Stewardship: A fundraising friend and I were laughing about this the other day. It was her son’s birthday and afterwards they wrote to everyone and said thank you for the presents he’d received. 

She jokingly called this her ‘friend stewardship’ plan, because how on earth was she going to make sure people didn’t forget her son, and celebrate his birthday the next year by kindly giving cards and gifts, if she didn’t do this. It’s quite simple really.

Donor journey: No, not a coach trip together to the Munich Christmas Market. Apparently this is about getting people to give again, and give more. Or do something else (‘cross-selling’ the opportunity) for your charity. 

Engagement: Not Beyonce encouraging us to put a ring on it, but basically talking to people in a human way. The crucial words here being ‘talking’ and ‘human.’ So when I meet my friend Mark at the pub, we don’t ‘engage’ for the evening. We talk, laugh, listen to each other, have fun and appreciate each other.

Solicitation: Not the thing that happens after Mark and I have been to the pub (see engagement), but that thing that all fundraisers should be doing. Yep, asking for money.

Pipeline: I can never escape the mental image of a big pipe through which money flows, falling and cascading into our arms, as we sit smiling and sifting gold coins through our fingers. I suspect the people who are planning to give (potential donors) would be horrified at our use of this term. 

High Net Worth Individuals: Rich people

Elevator pitch: I have often heard people say that their brand doesn’t give them the words to describe their charity effectively. I find this interesting. If you care enough, have the passion and the love for the cause, you’ll find the words. And if they’re your words, talking in your voice, then this will come across. And will work for that solicitation.

Donor pyramid: A useful tool, admittedly. But it still brings to mind a big pile of people all stood on top of each other, wobbling precariously. All those donors, entering their journey, looking for a bit of engagement and stewardship before they topple and end up in the big pipeline. 

Funding landscapes: No, me neither

Change management: Apparently, an “approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organisations to a desired future state.” Sometimes a euphemism for ‘update your CV immediately because you never know what will happen.’ Often closely related to “period of consultation.”

Guru: I rather like the Urban Dictionary definition for this one; “somebody who is supposed to be an expert on something.” Quite often a white, middle-aged man.

Cultivation: According to the dictionary, cultivation is the ‘art of cultivating.’ Clear as mud then. I’m not sure that I, as a person who gives money to charity, like to be compared to something I equate to bacteria. Maybe I could be fostered (by a nice couple at the seaside), or nurtured (like a baby), or courted (like a lover). Or I could simply be made your friend and then you could ask me for some money.

Optimisation: Basically, doing something the best it can be done. So, “I’m optimising my fundraising,” equals “I’m fundraising in the best possible way so I can raise more money and change more lives.” (Normally involves engagement and solicitation)

There are so many, we could be here all day. But I have to continue being donor-centric and focused, so am off to maximise my income by optimising my solicitation statements and building the perfect donor journey.

I would love to hear yours!

Danielle Atkinson

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