Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Women (and Non Profits) Want

I just finished a great podcast interview with Michael Silverstein, senior partner at Boston Consulting Group and coauthor of Women Want More. (Just to wet your whistle, according to Silverstein, women around the world want more of three basic things: Money, Time, and Love -- and they control about $20 trillion in consumer spending world wide.) The podcast will be available soon, but this whole interview got me thinking about what do non profits want.

I think the non profit list is the same: More money, more time, and more love.

For the purists out there, I would agree that the ultimate want is to not be needed anymore, to have the cause or need they are trying to meet actually met. But for the sake of discussion, let's assume that although a superior goal, the means to achieve it is still more money, time, and love.

I don't know any non profit leader that feels they have enough money. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing -- just a fact of the business. Even Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme, who is credited with being a remarkably successful fundraiser after raising more than $5 billion in 2008, would like more money. According to Silverstein, Sheeran says that with $10 billion the world could rid itself of hunger. She needs more money.

And most non profits are always looking for more hours in the day to get everything done. Unfortunately, some non profits are not set up to work with volunteers -- there is no system or method for those who want to give their time for the cause to be engaged. But for many, even the 169.7 million hours of volunteer time each year in the US is not enough to meet current needs.

And love...non profits need more love. What I mean by this is that non profits need more people to fall in love with their causes, their goals, and their visions. Some are naturally easier than others to love, but some make it inexplicably hard. Take Oxfam's Trailwalker program, it's designed with engaging people in personal and constructive ways. Quite a contrast to PETA's efforts to stop the clubbing of baby seals. Both are worthy issues, but one generates love, the other divisiveness.

I asked Silverstein what marketers should do if they wanted to genuinely and respectfully meet the needs of women and tap into the trillion dollar female economy. He noted a four step process that I am adapting for non profits. The 4 R's he notes are the same -- I've just changed their focus a bit.
  • RECOGNIZE the value of your constituents. What value does each category of constituent have for your non profit -- and what value do you offer them in return. Without this fundamental knowledge, you won't know if you're spending your time, energy, and money in the right places.
  • RESEARCH the satisfaction of your constituents with your organization, and their usability of what you offer. You've got to figure out the degree of relevance and usage barriers for your offerings.
  • RESPOND to these insights in a respectful and precisely targeted way. Focus your energy to maximize your ability to generate money, time, and love.
  • REFINE the process based on real time learning and keep it going. Constantly improve. Kaizen!
What do you think non profits want more of? Would you add to the list of three? What else would you suggest non profits do to get started in their efforts to generate more money, time, and love?

-- David Kinard, PCM


Anonymous said...

I agree with your views that nonprofits need more money, time and love. In actuality, they can never have, and that is just a given. There is just so much happening in the world that there will always be someone who needs help. To get more love, they should appeal to people and get them to truly understand their cause. A lot of people donate, but do not fully understand what the organization they have donated to does exactly. It is just something nice to do for another in the books. http://www.nonprofit.nu is a good resource for information on nonprofits and other news that may be of interest.

David Kinard, PCM said...

I appreciate your thoughts! And thanks for the resource tip. There are a lot of great charity rating sites out there -- charitynavigator.org, insidegood.com, charityguide.org. Tons more.

Do you recommend others?


Jonathan Mcmurry said...

You really have a nice post regarding what really non-profit and women really want. It seemed that women and non profit really have similarities on their demands and needs. Non-profit organization nowadays are getting more innovative with the ways on how to improve their services. They now seek help from members of tech support (Brantford area) and they provide them great software that they can use with in their office.