Are Your Donors Ready for Your iPad?

A few things are certain - iPads have a “cool” factor and likely enhance your productivity, whether at the office, your home office, or on the road. But are your donors ready for you to bring them into their offices or homes?

Some considerations that make me say “Yes!”

  • If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a moving picture is worth even more.  If your organization uses video to help spread its message, it’s a good opportunity to share that content with your donors or prospects in person.
  • Increased productivity away from the office. The iPad is better than other gadgets at responding to emails, creating presentations, and checking your fundraising database.
  • Calculations and illustrations, of course. You can respond to a prospect’s specific interest on the fly with an illustration that addresses concerns or provides insight into a particular gift, providing an interactive opportunity to design the perfect gift together.

 Some considerations that make me say “Yes, but…”

  • Always keep in mind that technology is second to relationships. Too much focus on the iPad could be a distraction from the unique experience of sitting face-to-face with a prospect. Your organization and its mission are still the stars of the show.
  • While providing calculations and illustrations on the spot is a positive, keep your eyes open for opportunity to schedule a repeat visit, and be aware that some answers demand a more thoughtful reply than you can generate in 2 minutes just because you have your iPad.
  • Don’t replace paper with technology. Even if it’s quick and cool, not having paper may reduce the prospect’s sense of trust and buy-in. Keep the prospect assured that the results (if any) of the meeting will be captured and documented.

iPad: Are Your Donors Ready?

How far back does this debate go? It definitely precedes the iPad. One of the most successful training classes at our workshops in the mid 90’s was “Me and My Laptop:  Taking PGM on the Road.”  The unanimous conclusion from those discussions was - take the laptop on the trip, but leave it in the rental car. 

Of course, since then, prospects have become more willing adopters of technology. Incorporating new tools into the dialogue will likely not appear to be as intrusive as it might have before.  The question you have to ask yourself, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry is: “Is it worth it?  Well, punk, is it?”

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