The Cost of Doing Nothing: Embracing Technology in Fundraising


Taking the ostrich approach to implementing technology into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy won’t work for long. There’s a cost for those who choose to stick their heads in the sand.Technology has been a great addition to our lives. It heats our homes, gets us to work, and connects us with friends and family throughout the world.

No need to plan a meal for the picnic or gathering… a website automates the bring-a-dish tradition.

No need to call a friend… Uber can take us from point A to point B.

Every new technology from driverless cars to video drones to automated phone calls offers the possibility of improving your life — the benefits are fantastic! We can all gain from implementing automation and technology.

Shift Happens

However, we haven’t seen enough nonprofit organizations adapting to technology to assist them with their organizational goals. Today, nonprofit fundraising remains an old-school, face-to-face endeavor relying almost exclusively on human capital. And it works… for now.

Currently, potential donors prefer face-to-face engagement and personal touch — but the culture is shifting. Share on X

The loss of human capital and the shift to technology and automation is happening before our very eyes. As you look at technology trends, technology-based interactions are becoming a preferred mode of connection with people.

  • Most grocery stores have at least 3 self-checkout lanes. And Amazon’s home delivery model eliminates the checkout counter completely.
  • Banks have mobile apps and ATM machines to assist their customers rather than bank clerks.
  • At Lowe’s, you don’t need an associate to locate an item — just use their app. No human interaction required.
  • Face-to-Face, brick-and-mortar retail stores are financially struggling due to competition from Amazon and eCommerce marketplaces.

Now, there is something to say about organizations that choose to continue to do business as normal. Baby Boomers enjoy the relational connection — and their assets represent over $41 trillion.

Which means that nonprofit ministries and churches that ignore these massive shifts in technology should remain viable… for about 25 years or so more. But there’s a cost associated with doing nothing.

The Cost of Nothing

Organizations are reporting lower responses to direct mail and outbound calling. Many nonprofits depend on a large workforce to make sure they can develop donors directly.

Using people-power, instead of technology can consume a lot of your budget with low rates of return. Share on X

Despite recent efforts to dispel the idea of the noble, poor nonprofit, the fact remains that donors do not look highly on organizations with high overhead costs-especially when the technology exists to drive costs down.

No matter how much we hate the stigma, nonprofits that choose not to invest in cost-saving technology will face a real disadvantage.

Leveraging Tech

Seeing these trends, nonprofits must begin to leverage technological resources to begin connecting with the early adopters and the tech-savvy Generation X.

Addressing and pursuing changes within the organization now includes budgeting for software, branding, organizational structure changes, etc.

Find the balance between face-to-face fundraising and technology connected fundraising. Share on X

Putting money into developing your organization due to these trends is being a good steward over what God has given you. Take a look at what some of these inspiring ministries are doing to implement new technologies into their fundraising strategies:

  • North Point Community Church has an array of technology options for donors to choose from, including a mobile app and giving online.
  • Biola University cut their planned giving costs by 80% while increasing expected gifts more than five-fold when they implemented My Legacy Planner.
  • Center for Global Impact, an evangelistic ministry, launched a peer to peer fundraising campaign centered around the NBA’s March Madness games using an online technology.

The cost of implementing technology into your fundraising efforts is within your reach — but it’s easy to get lost among all the options available.

We can help. With over 50 years of combined experience in fundraising, we’d be happy to speak with you about how technology can help drive your mission forward.
The call is free — and there’s no obligation. So let’s talk!

3 Modern Myths Holding Your Fundraising Back


Stop Focusing on the 9%

Nonprofits, churches, and higher education organizations often fall into the trap of going for quick cash gifts instead of tapping into the abundance of asset-based fundraising. See if one or more of these three modern myths are holding you back from your full fundraising potential.  Every season has unique giving opportunities – from the ringing of holiday bells outside a store to the cookies or popcorn sold door to door.  Giving opportunities are everywhere.

But they all focus on the same thing – the money in your wallet or checking account.

Many organizations excel at creating an emotional tug to spur a moment where you reach for your wallet. But here’s the thing…

I have done the math and it’s eye-opening.

The sum of all those moments = 9% of the individual’s giving potential.

How did I get 9%?  Let’s look at the types of things that make up one’s net worth.

Fluid cash sources like saving accounts, money under a mattress, etc., are easily accessed funds that people can use to purchase items.

Assets are tangible objects that would need to be sold to purchase something else like stocks, real estate, and businesses.

Most Americans have about 91% of their net worth in assets. That leaves 9% for liquid assets, such as savings and cash on hand.

While it will always make sense to have a robust, cash-driven church fundraising strategy, just imagine how much more you could accomplish by developing an asset-based approach as well!

Here are three myths that hold people back from the 91% of donor gifts available through asset-based funding strategy.

Myth #1: Asset-based fundraising isn’t worth the effort.

I’m not going to lie to you. Asset-based fundraising is more work for gifts that won’t come for a while (if ever).

However, the long-term gains far outweigh the effort.

Assets are an untapped resource that most ignore when it comes to giving. By offering ways for people to give out of the 91%, you can help your already generous donors be even more generous while also saving on taxes.

And the gifts you receive will also often be exponentially larger than your largest cash gifts.

Myth #2: Asset-based fundraising is manipulative.

Your donors spend a lifetime building their asset portfolios. This represents a manifestation of their long-term efforts, goals, family values, and dreams to make a lasting impact.

For many of us, it seems greedy and calloused to ask someone to give you a significant part of the wealth they spent a life building for their family — but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

By educating them on what’s possible in terms of asset-based stewardship, you expand their horizons, exposing ways for them to make a lasting impact with the wealth they have created, while also reducing tax burdens they weren’t aware of.

In short, you serve your most passionate supporters in a whole new way when you engage in asset-based fundraising.

Myth #3: High capacity donors already have accountants and lawyers that help them with these things.

It is true that these donors often have great legal and financial assistance.  However, the primary focus of these professionals is preserving resources NOT helping their clients give assets away to impact great causes.

In fact, it’s the opposite.  Most lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors consider it their job to advise clients to keep as many assets as they can.

As a result, the conversation about asset-based generosity rarely comes up, if ever.  

Of course, this opens the door for your organization to serve your donors in a whole new way by educating donors on the benefits, methods, and joy of giving their assets to the causes they care deeply about.

This issue of asset-based giving is such an important topic that we will be talking about in much more detail on future posts.

When we work with a person who has a deep passion for a mission or cause and help them create a larger gift than they realized was possible, it is a beautiful experience.

In working with individuals and organizations for many years, I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish I had been less generous.”  What I have heard many times though is, “I had no idea that I could give out of my assets to the missions and causes that I love.”

It’s time that we start having a new conversation about giving — one that releases people’s ability to make an impact. So, let’s stop focusing on the 9% and tap into the 91% of the untapped assets.

Is your ministry ready to help people go beyond the 9%? Schedule your free 30-minute discovery call to see how!