The ListSeth Godin came out with a list where he essentially asked the question “How do you prioritize life?” It’s well worth the read as it makes you think personally about how you go about filtering (aka prioritizing).

But it’s also very though provoking in terms of our work in the nonprofit space.

As I read his list I started thinking about how priorities affect fundraising.

Priorities play a KEY role when it comes to achieving what you set out to accomplish. Your nonprofits priorities, your priorities and the priorities of the world of people you’re trying to engage (supporters, donors, volunteers, etc) all play a role.

If we apply this to fundraising it comes down to one simple thing. Getting on the list. Getting  people to prioritize you. Your Organization. Your work. Your cause. Your passion.

Take a look over the list and you’ll see what I mean …

– Email from your boss
– Personal note from a good friend
– Three or four recommendations from trusted colleagues, each with the same link
– A trending topic on Twitter
– The latest on Reddit
– Phone call from your mom
– File on the intranet you’re supposed to read before the end of the week
– Spam email from a stranger
– Tenth note from Eddie Bauer, this one to an email address you haven’t used in a year
– Post on Google + from a friend of a friend
– Facebook update from someone you haven’t seen in ten years
– Angry tweet from someone you’ve never met
– Commercial on the radio that’s playing softly in the background
– Email from someone who had your back one day when it really and truly mattered
– !!!urgent marked email from the HR department about the TPS reports
– Text message on your phone from your husband
– Phone message from the kid’s principal
– Tweet from the handler of a celebrity who is pretending to be the celebrity
– Story that’s repeated endlessly on cable news because a producer thought it would get good ratings
– Handwritten love note from a current crush
– New review in the Times of a restaurant you happen to be going to tonight
– Obviously bulk snail mail from a charity you donated to three years ago
– Latest volley in a flame war
– Blank sheet of paper quietly waiting for your next big innovation
– Comment on a blog post you wrote three days ago
– New post by your favorite blogger, delivered via RSS
– Book in the bookstore, next to the cash register
– Newest negative review of your business on Yelp
– Movie playing across town
– TV commercial on a show you’ve got on your DVR
– Book on back shelf of a bookstore, newly put there by the manager, who doesn’t know what you like
– Tweet from someone who really, really wants you (and everyone else) to follow her
– Rebecca Black’s new video
– Sales pitch on your voicemail


The interesting thing about figuring out how to get on the list is that you can approach it in two ways:

1) By focusing on “making it” – getting on the list.

2) By focusing on getting into the top 5 – becoming a “top priority”.

Both have a chance at succeeding. One requires you to get on thousands upon thousands of lists (the masses). The other requires you to get to the top of a much shorter list of lists (the evangelists).

Two Questions for You

How are you getting people to make your organizations work a priority in their lives?  Are you focused on the masses or the evangelists? Why?



Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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