Cars got better. You no longer need to pull the choke to start a car on a cold morning. Or even turn a big handle on the front (what did that do?). And you don’t need to take a full tool-kit on a long journey for when you break down.

Listening to music on the move got better. No more carrying the ghetto-blaster on your shoulder, annoying the neighbourhood with your mix tapes.

That’s how it works – we make progress and move on, usually in little incremental steps, but occasionally in giant leaps forward. Excuse the management psycho-babble but some people call it disruptive innovation.

A disruptive innovation makes the old way seem, well, old. The world moves on and old ways become ineffective. This is where doing the same thing over and over will deliver different results because the context changes.

What would disruptive innovation look like in fundraising? They say that direct mail and the cheque are virtually dead (they’re not). And new ways, when they do arrive, aren’t always welcome – take face-to-face donor acquisition for example – but that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. Sometimes we cry out for innovation: the old way of measuring charities’ effectiveness by overhead ratios is still with us, but maybe even that’s changing now. And what about NFC payments, crowdfunding and even good old social media? Will they represent a giant leap forward in how people give?


There’s a quiet revolution going on in technology. It may not set everyone’s pulse racing, but technology increasingly underpins what fundraising needs to do. And the revolution is in the form of a cloud. Cloud-based donor management does not simply mean putting old systems in a data centre. Neither does it mean bending sales CRMs out of shape to fit charities’ needs. It means lower costs – so everyone can join in, even the small charities. It means modern, smart, connected donor management that works the way we expect it to work now – online and without unnecessary complexity. And it means we can do it on the devices we use every day.