And likewise, all customers are different – even within the same markets. Their overall size, the challenges they face, the resources they have to work with including both talent and budget – they all differ. We tend to do a lot of work within the nonprofit market, and someone once told me that “if you have seen one nonprofit, then that is all you have seen – every one of them is different!”
Which brings me to the point of today’s blog. I was recently visiting with a new prospect, and it was a very engaging conversation. After we were done, we had talked not only about what it is that the organization does, how they achieve this work, who they serve and the why, but also quite a bit about some of the trends within fundraising and some of the best practices. It was a great first opportunity and when finished I saw that we had talked for 1 1/2 hours! We obviously had connected on some level, otherwise I would have been given the boot a lot sooner. We agreed on the next steps – what the real priority was for them, and that I would work on a proposal to present the next week.
So this is where the real work begins. The challenge of potentially taking on a new client and needing to make sure I listened and made the right notes, and would be able to focus on creating a proposal that would be relevant and of interest to them. And oh by the way, come up with some good ideas that could help the organization grow even further. Sometimes we find ourselves just doing the same old, same old without being willing to try something new and different, and that is where the need to be creative and offer suggestions can be not only good for the client, but also stimulating for us as a company. Perhaps it is to suggest something that you have read about or heard of someone else do for a client, or just a different twist on a similar project you have done.
As I first started working on the estimates for this project, an annual report, I started with a standard printed layout. After I finished up on this though, I started to think through what all else could be done. Just as my last blog talked about the need for cross-media formats, I started to add in an online digital publication, and then the concept of incorporating video as well – to offer some very personal looks at the students they serve, the volunteer staff they have and then the donors that help support the cause. These same videos would be used in the digital publication, but also within any social media channels they use, their website and perhaps also at any events that they host. Of course it makes sense to still have a printed version of the report, but perhaps they would only do a small run of these to share with their most loyal donors, along with a printed postcard that could be produced inexpensively and sent to the full database.
As next week comes along and I finish up on the written proposal, I will be anxious to see how it is received. Obviously no guarantees, but if we are to be looked at as a resource, it is our job to provide some good ideas to start. It is what makes my business rewarding, to see a client willing to listen to our ideas!
What ideas have you been proposing?