In a recent post on the Non-Profit Marketing Blog, author Katya Andresen of Network for Good equates the approach many fundraisers take in appealing to donors to a stranger accosting someone at the bus stop with a random plea for friendship. In reaching out to prospects, Katya explains, “We should not solely focus on what we want from them. We should focus on what we can achieve together.” This may seem intuitive, but she calls this a forgotten fundamental in fundraising because, as we are so passionate about our own cause or issue, we too easily forget that our audiences may have vastly different priorities.
Though Katya’s commentary refers specifically to fundraising, the concept of engaging in a robust two-way dialogue with your audience has equal application in the areas of cause branding and corporate responsibility. In a recent post here, vice president of corporate responsibility Henk Campher shared his tips for stakeholder engagement and advises companies to “start by talking, learning about each other and building trust rather than immediately expecting ground-breaking strategic partnerships.” No matter your appeal--to nonprofit or corporate partners, to donors, to stakeholders, activists or NGOs--let us not forget this most fundamental rule of engagement. We all know it, let’s just be sure we are truly practicing it.