Met with our Industry Partners Council a couple of weeks ago. The council is made up of representatives from for-profit firms that serve the profession. It was fascinating to talk with them because their experiences often underscore what members are seeing in their communities.
Take Rich Tolsma, for example, who leads Rich Tolsma Productions, a video and multi-media firm. He’s reporting a strong sense of urgency about projects that were delayed because of the economy, but now need to be worked on very quickly. He’s seeing more programs now designed specifically for the Internet, when in the past putting materials and resources online was often an afterthought. There have also been more projects focused specifically on donor stewardship: “We’ve never seen more charities developing videos and materials with the express purpose of thanking current donors and showing impact.”
Debbi Barber, CFRE, the president of Grizzard Communications Group, a nonprofit marketing and fundraising agency, talked about how different the current trends and priorities are compared to past years. Clients are now focused on social media and networking, requiring a new set of skills and operations that are far different from the traditional fundraising work.
And if you need a great example of how much the sector has changed, there’s Adam Roth and Streamlink Software. Adam, president of the Streamlink, noted that his firm, which provides charities with web-based grant and board management software that increases operational resources, capacity and efficiency, couldn’t have been in existence a few years ago.
Any of these sound familiar? Changes in our profession affect our business partners too, and they can provide invaluable perspective and insight. Definitely looking forward to our next meeting.