"If we don't have it, we'll find it for you" - sounds a little Harrods I know, but the point is that Santa tells people where to shop and indeed where to buy the toys and gifts at the best prices and as a result the manager receives wonderful feedback from its customers.
"Santa's telling everybody where to shop. If you don't got it, it's too expensive, he's saying where to get it at the right price. Tell Santa he made me a Cole's shopper. I'm coming here for everything but toilet paper. Any store that puts the parent ahead of the buck at Christmas deserves my business. Tell Mr. Cole his Santa Claus ought to get a raise."
Now, I know it's just a film and equally, some could say a risky business strategy - but though a fictitious example, I think there is something that we as fundraisers and communicators can learn from it - not least to be a little more giving and dare I say more supportive of our 'competitors' and more mindful of our supporter's needs.
So, if a supporter calls to fund a certain project which your organisation doesn't have - would it be the worst thing in the world to refer them to organisation x, who you know do work in that area or on that theme? Would that be better than trying to create something that isn't best for your organisation and may cost more in servicing than the value of the contribution itself? It could work very well if you have reciprocal arrangements already established for example.
If there is a campaign going on from another organisation, that is working to do what your organisation is also trying to achieve - then what's the harm in actively endorsing the campaign within your organisation and amongst your supporters?
If you are an 'admirer' of a great campaign or initiative from another organisation (even if it doesn't match your mission and aims), what would the harm be in tweeting about it - or liking and sharing on Facebook to your organisation's 'friends' or 'followers'?
As a supporter I would find it bold and refreshing. As a fundraiser I may feel a little anxiety. Should I not be trying to protect my supporters?
But in truth we all know that our supporters support other organisations, (often several), not just our own so why should we not be the bigger organisation and be proactive in highlighting the good in what other organisation's are doing. As individuals we do - even as professionals, twitter posts are full of admiration and support of what colleagues and peers are doing. I am just suggesting something on a slightly wider scale.
Let your supporters see you as caring more about what you are trying to achieve, i.e. ending poverty, curing illness, stopping cruelty to animals and children rather than your income figures and the benefits could be great. I am not suggesting going over board but I think there are times when such an approach could be mutually beneficial and valuable.
After all in the film, Cole's Store found their income went through the roof and won some amazingly loyal customers into the bargain! So who needs Santa?
Thanks as ever for stopping by and Happy New Year!