Building effective relationships matters


On either side of the Atlantic, the wisdom you get to build relationships with your donors is interesting to learn. This came  true when  Professor Ian Bruce, President, Center for Charity Effectiveness at London’s Cass Business School talked about the theory and practice of building effective relationships.

According to Prof. Bruce, successful relationship building has four components: establishing relationships, strengthening relationships, customer appreciation and relationship strategies. In American terms,  this  means relationship building, stewardship and ongoing donor communications.

You scan your environment to seek out the most influential people interested in your cause. Engage them well, pay close attention to their needs and consider them the most important people in your network. Prof. Bruce advises that you must be ready to talk about the negative things that are  happening at your organization and how you are trying to fix them. What are the pillars that need to be strengthened?

Often, most of us forget the common sense initiatives we need to take to build relationships. This includes reliability (deliver what you promised), responsiveness (give prompt service always), assurance (convey trust and confidence), empathy (a caring attitude), and  always make sure  that you provide the best tangible experience of your assets.

Sometimes, giving up top spots allotted to your  CEO or leadership to high value customers will help strengthen relationships. According to Prof. Bruce, this will help you build financial and social bonding with your high value customer.

His highly acclaimed book “Charity Marketing: Delivering Income, Campaigns and Services,” elaborates on the theory and practice of building effective nonprofit marketing strategies.

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Philanthropy’s global footprint creates new opportunities


An American concept is growing rapidly in different parts of the world, innovating itself and finding new meaning in new markets. The art and science of philanthropy is now growing faster in regions outside the United States.  According to Penelope Cagney, international fundraising consultant and president of  The Cagney Company, a few trends that are shaping global philanthropy include:

  1. An affluent middle class in emerging markets is now greatly involved in philanthropic giving.  According to monthly giving data tracked by the Big Mac Philanthropy Index, the top three countries engaged in giving the most were Singapore, Hong Kong and India. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 2012 now ranks Australia as the #1 country in giving, including both monetary gifts and volunteer hours.
  2. The surge in philanthropy in foreign markets is creating a new wave of innovation in method and practice.  A newly published book on Indian philanthropy “Revealing Indian Philanthropy,”  describes how the new Indian rich are taking sophisticated approaches to giving. Planned giving is hot in Japan, Chile raises more than 10% of it’s donations through door to door giving and direct mail is doing well in Australia. Microfinance and telefacing(telephone call and face to face meeting) are widely used in India, while social impact bonds in the UK and fair trade networks in Africa are enriching philanthropic practice in foreign markets.
  3. Alongside, huge NGOs are growing in emerging markets and some like the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) are more creative than counterparts in Western societies.

As the world adapts to more advanced fundraising  here are a few things to watch for:

  1. India’s Companies Bill of 2011 expected to be passed later this year will make India the first country  in the world to introduce a 2% Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. A major proposal seeks to have businesses spend 2 percent of their net profits in CSR initiatives. This will have a profound impact on corporate giving and will also affect the bottom line of multinational companies doing business in India.
  2. More and more emerging markets are now collecting data on philanthropy.
  3. A formal culture of philanthropy is yet to evolve, but giving is taking different forms and shapes in outside countries. These innovations could enrich the practice of philanthropy.
  4. Tactics like the “Giving Pledge” might work in Western markets, but in emerging markets, the super rich may not easily part with their wealth. They will seek newer ways of parting with their wealth.

As newer markets expand their philanthropic initiatives, thought leaders like Cagney have provided their perspectives in books like Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Fundraising. Overall, there is no better time for philanthropy to emerge as an important topic of discussion in international markets.

 

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