Closing Un-Keynote: How to Engage “Free Agent Fundraisers”How’s everyone doing? This is going to be an unkeynote – we’re going discuss the idea of how to engage “Free Agent Fundraisers” individuals who are passionate about our causes and our work – but our typical supporter profile …
I co-wrote a book called “Networked Nonprofit” with Alison Fine. Originally, I was going to write a book about Free Agents Fundraisers – a Manifesto … but as we got into our research, there was a larger frame.The book has been out for year – I’ve been teaching workshops about the principles of being a networked nonprofit, around the world – in places like the Middle East – and learning a lot about how the concept translates across different cultures.
In our research, we discovered there were two types of nonprofits –Those that were born as networked nonprofits and others – institutions that were in the process of becoming Networked Nonprofits ….Networked Nonprofits consider everyone inside and outside of the organization resources for helping them to achieve their goals – and They are experts at using social media to scale their programs.
In the Middle East, I discovered a networked nonprofit called Shabakat – which is the Arabic word for networkRami Al Karmi in Jordan founded this organization. It delivers internet and technology trainings to young people in over 300 communities in the country of Jordan ..That is amazing fact when you consider the organization only has 3 staff people …..They work with free agents – young people who implement their program in their community …I asked Rami – what’s your secret to success? He answered .. Being relevant so you don’t have to over think …Not all nonprofits have embraced working as a networked nonprofits .. Many haven’t … many are ….
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/444790702/Nonprofit fortresses – are resistant to adopting social media and new technologies ….Maybe you know a fortress --- they spends days crafting the perfect strategic plan – in their offices, with the windows painted over and with Flip Chart paperThey don’t get input from their stakeholders ..Or they have complicated approval process .. It takes 3 months to send out a press release because 30 people have to edit – and god forbid there is a typo!!!
They have not yet found replacement strategies or partial replace strategies for their tried and true methods of connecting with their supporters …
And, if they do embrace social media, they are more transactional – and build relationships …….So, we have the fortresses …. And outside their walls we have
The guy in the t-shirt, a free agentThese are people like Mark Horvath, Shawn Ahmed and many others .. That are not traditional fundraiswers, but use social media tools to organize, moblize, raise frunds, and communicate with constistuents outside of
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigtallguy/139143816/We wrote this book because we saw a landscape of free agents and nonprofit fortresses crashing into one another ….
A passionate millenial who wants to stamp out global poverty …He is faciile with social media, creating a social movement in the palm of his hands
When the Networked Nonprofit was published a year ago, I saw first hand how he was crashing into the walls of fortress nonprofits …..At NTC – with a room of nonprofits ..
He turned and pointed a finger at Wendy Harman from the Red Cross who was in the room. He told the room full of nonprofits staffers …..When the Haiti earthquake struck, I contacted the Red Cross. I offered to connect the community supporting my work with your efforts in Haiti. But I was dismissed as ‘just a guy on YouTube’”.
When back to his hotel room, wrote several critical blog posts about the Red Cross…But Wendy was smart, she engaged with him in the comments, talked to him on the phone, invited him to headquarters … and now they’re working together
And shawn was invited to Davos where he talked about his work with the red cross
Shawn isn’t the only well known free agent .. We also have Mark Horvath ..Mark has been working hard to call attention to homelessness issue in America ..
We have variety of free agents and approahces – from Grace who is 12 and raised $ for the NWF gulf oil spill and well known free agents like Craig Newmark …
They don’t just focus on fundraising – in the UK they’re call Militant optimists .. Here’s one who is providing rides in the community – a government service that was eliminated because of budget cuts
And they don’t work alone either – sometimes they band together – and swarm to support a nonprofit .. Here’s an example of writers who decided to hold a series of book readings to support the red cross
We also know that unlike an older generation of donors who are loyal to an organization’s brand, free agents are attracted to a cause – and may just work with one organizations
I’ve heard from nonprofits and free agents that the key to a successful working relationship is …Trust — Transparency — Empathy – EnthusiasmAnd that it is well worth it because – this new breed of supporters can open the door to others …
I’m very curious … are you a free agent working with nonprofit? A nonprofit working with a free agent?Wanting to find a free agent?What works? What doesn’t?What’s the secret sauce to success?