Posted by: Don Linnen | 28 February 2018

Long-Term Thinking

My savvy friends at MarketSmart raised a good point about nonprofit fundraisers competing with Apple for discretionary dollars. They said:

“The newest Apple iPhone costs about $1,000. In the past, it was about $600. Some 80 million people bought the iPhone X so far. Maybe more.

“That means… in the past few months, charities around the world lost out on 80 million opportunities to get about $400 bucks.

“Apple outflanked them! This is all about ‘share of wallet’.

“You’re not just competing against other charities. No! You’re competing against anything that provides value to your supporters.

“So, the question you need to ask yourself is this… What are you doing to outflank Apple?”

Asked another way: does your nonprofit offer more value than an iPhone upgrade?

Now I love my iPhone (most of the time). Every few years I do yearn for the latest and greatest, fastest and coolest. At first glance, the question is clearly a provocative apples and oranges comparison. But look at the question for longer than a glance.

What if the value your nonprofit provides is not something that needs upgrade in 2 years; slows down in 4 years; needs replacement in 6 years; and just quits working in 10 years? Competing for that $400 is relatively easy when involved with donors who think in the long term.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:17

Forever is pretty much long term (and my desire for a flip phone has certainly passed away).

“…for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.” – Proverbs 27:24

Solomon didn’t mention iPhones, but he was on the right track. 

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” – John 6:51

Hmmmm.  Living bread or new iPhone?  Forever or a few years?  

You choose.


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