The future for the third sector

Ask anyone what is happening in the not-for-profit sector these days and they’ll probably tell you “It’s tough out there”. They may be referring to the competition for resources and support or to the challenge of meeting their ever-increasing demands.

So what does it take to be successful in this crowded marketplace? First and foremost, we need to show we care as much about our customers and supporters as they care about what we are doing. Like us, they also have less resources and more opportunities than ever before.

Many businesses have come to realize that their future depends on their ability to keep and increase the value of their customers. They recognize the importance of building strong and lasting relationships with each of their customers through personal communication and value-added benefits.

The not-for-profit world is no different. People who are informed, valued, and cared for on an individual basis, who have an opportunity to contribute their views and concerns, and who benefit in tangible and intangible ways as a result of their involvement, will continue, and perhaps increase their support.

Neglected, they will drift away, directing their energy and resources where they feel most confident that their support is appreciated and making a positive contribution.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Simple because the objective is clear. Complicated because it is a never ending process of learning more and more about the people we depend upon for our success so that we can care for them and keep them caring well into the future.

Roger Chilton
from The Future
Third Sector Strategies: A Decade of Non-Profit Expertise
Go Direct Marketing 1997