Innovation Heroes Episode.3
There is a new era of fundraising on the horizon and the Canadian Cancer Society is leading the charge. After an abrupt and almost total disruption to traditional fundraising and in-person events, approaching the fundraising process through a new innovative lens was mission-critical. Nonprofits turned to unchartered territory online, looking for new pathways of connection. Through data-driven efforts, with a focus on value exchange partnerships and donor-centric products, organizations such as CCS have successfully navigated a post-covid (🤞) reality, and might even call it good fortune. Digital immersive programming has opened up access to a whole new generation of fundraisers and donors. Explore how gamifying the process of fundraising, the metaverse, augmented reality and AI are changing the landscape, experience (and participants) of charitable fundraising.
🔉 Click to listen 👇
Ushering in a new era for #fundraising! This week’s Innovation Heroes segment welcomed Smita Challu Tulsani Director of Direct Response & Innovation, to discuss how the Canadian Cancer Society is approaching the fundraising process through a new innovative lens.
In this episode, Adam and Smita Tulsani discuss all things fundraising:
- Fundraising is the Science of Inspiring People to Care
- Digitalization, AI, Value Exchange & Channel Optimization
- Moving from Waterfall to Agile Mindset in a Core vs. Crowd Hybrid
- Fundraising That is Not Disruptive - Gamifying Fundraising
- New Supporters & Advocates: Great Wealth Transfer, NextGen, Streamers, and Influencers
The conversation covered a lot of ground, here are 5 key highlights: 👇
(full transcript below)
1) Fundraising is the Science of Inspiring People to Care
Personally, I think of fundraising as a key driver for social impact and social entrepreneurship because the outcome of the fundraising efforts is having a positive impact on societal change. As sociologists would define it - social change is a kind of a package of human interactions and relationships, but it also social change drives slowly, it changes the cultural thread of the society. I think of charitable fundraising as the science of inspiring people to care, which is unique in itself and what inspires me and I think what I hope interests you and our listeners as well is that we are at this cusp of change where together we can actually influence this through technology, through innovation, and through strategic partnerships as well.
2) Digitalization Mindset Shift
I truly believe that innovation is not a team or a department or a title. It is more of a mindset adoption and we do see that over the last 30 months we have seen a lot of exploration in digitalization and digital transformation like those have become the key terms. It has enabled us to challenge the norm in fundraising and we are seeing that there is this need to constantly evolve as your donor insight or consumer mindset is changing and it's not only the internal factors that impact fundraising, it's also a lot about external factors that are influencing your decisions.
3) Trying new things and venturing into new audiences
There has been a significant emphasis on adopting an innovation mindset or testing new things or even kind of being more bolder than our traditional approaches. We are seeing that in the charitable sector, we're also seeing interesting partnerships where for profit and non for profit are coming together to create something unique immersive experiences. There is this new muscle of kind of trying new things and venturing into new audience inside which is developing.
4) Where Donors Drive the Product
A lot of our insights are donor-validated. We're testing new products, we are testing new channel optimization tactics, and seeing where is the market appetite..."how do we engage our donors in a more meaningful way?" And the crux and the core of it is that value exchange, which is a different mindset than how we would traditionally work. It was kind of one-size-fits-all, so to speak, but now where we are with a lot of data-driven decision making, we are seeing that offerings are moving from being just product-centric to more donor-centric marketing, where donors are helping us drive the product.
5) Failing Faster and Learning What Not to Do
We're taking the lead from the market and one of the key things that worked well for us is adopting the agile mindset and methodology. In the fundraising context you have to be very mindful, where do you invest the donor dollars, and pretty much the pressure is on, every pilot of yours has to be successful. That's where moving away from waterfall to agile has been really helpful for us to be able to concurrently evaluate multiple streams of tasks or initiatives and see with the data-driven insight which is the most compelling one to scale up, and be able to cap the ones, or have the permission to fail faster, which is, a new muscle and sometimes they say if you learn quickly what not to do that's far better learning than continuing something which down the line would not be as impactful. so really interesting.
(full transcript below)
Thank you for checking out Episode #3 of the Innovation Heroes series!
Let's keep the conversation going! Interested in chatting with Adam on an Innovation Heroes segment or recommending a guest? To join the queue, send an email to Attn: Adam with your name, email, and topic of interest (you can also use the HeroX contact form).
Connect with Smita:
Twitter: Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society, or CCS, should be known to many of our Canadian listeners, but for those tuning in globally, CCS is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve the lives of all those affected by cancer - through world-class research, transformative advocacy and compassionate support.
🔉 About the Innovation Heroes podcast
My name is Adam Olsen from HeroX. The Innovation Heroes series covers all things open innovation, crowdsourcing, and remote work.
It’s time to open up the airways, share strategies, engage partners, and leverage the power of crowd intelligence to expedite solutions to the pressing problems facing every level of organization, individuals, and the world. The key word here is OPEN.
We're bringing our partners in innovation, organizations who have run their own crowdsourcing projects, innovator powerhouses, and remote work legends into the spotlight.
There is a global network ready to contribute time, energy and intelligence to just about any challenge that comes their way. All we need to do is provide the opportunity.
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Discover the Power of the Crowd
Transcript: Episode #3
Adam Olsen and Smita Challu Tulsani, Director of Direct Response & Innovation, Canadian Cancer Society
Thank you for joining us live today.
We're very excited about this space with special guests.
The Canadian Cancer Society.
CCS is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the lives of those affected by cancer through world-class research, transformative advocacy, and compassionate support.
Today we are joined by Smita Challu Tulsani, Director of Direct Response and Innovation.
Smita is an accomplished value-driven leader and a designated chartered marketer with proficiency and digital product management, strategic marketing, customer experience data analytics, and fundraising.
She focuses on building overall products and channel portfolios.
Smita is also the founder of an AI-based start-up, Upsidio, which fulfills her passion for learning and understanding the impacts of digital transformation and the use of AI and Machine learning.
Today, Smita is joining us to discuss; How the Canadian Cancer Society is approaching the fundraising process through a new innovative lens, the innovation goals they have, and the partnerships they feel are going to help them reach those goals.
Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.
Before we get started, can you share a little bit about what fires you up the most about being part of the Canadian fundraising landscape.
Thanks Adam and thanks everyone who is able to join us.
I think this is a great and exciting time for the fundraising world and I'm most excited that we've seen a lot of technological advancements which are improving the activity-to-outcome framework and personally I think of fundraising as a key driver for social impact and social entrepreneurship because the outcome of the fundraising efforts is having a positive impact on societal change. As sociologists would define - social change is a kind of a package of human interactions and relationships, but it also social change drives slowly, it changes the cultural thread of the society.
So I think of charitable fundraising as the science of inspiring people to care, which is unique in itself and what inspires me and I think what I hope interests you and our listeners as well is that we are at this cusp of change where together we can actually influence this through technology, through innovation and through strategic partnerships as well.
So yeah, that's that's what is exciting in this phase.
Yeah, it certainly is an interesting landscape to work in, where you really are just trying to shift people's mindset to be a little bit more helpful and thoughtful and the causes that are important to them.
So it'd be great to learn a little bit more about the innovation ecosystem and the fundraising world.
Do you see a lot of innovation happening in the landscape?
That's an interesting and much talked about question Adam.
I feel, yes, I think innovation is happening and sometimes it's called different things in different contexts.
So I truly believe that innovation is not a team or a department or a title.
It is more of a mindset adoption and we do see like over the last 30 months we have seen a lot of exploration in digitalization and digital transformation like those have become the key terms, but what it has also enabled us to kind of challenge the norm in fundraising and we are seeing that, you know, one thing, if you say what's common between an Apple, Netflix or the fundraising world, is this need to constantly evolve as your donor insight or consumer mindset is changing and it's not only the internal factors that impact fundraising, it's also a lot about like external factors that are influencing your decisions.
So there has been a significant emphasis on kind of adopting that innovation mindset or testing new things or even kind of being more bolder than our traditional approaches.
So we are seeing that in the charitable sector, we're also seeing interesting partnerships where for profit and non for profit are coming together to create something unique immersive experiences.
So there is this new muscle of kind of trying new things and venturing into new audience inside which is developing.
It's interesting to hear about the digitalization transformation that you're seeing the fundraising sector, especially because, you know, in the past two years, I think everybody's been kind of forced to adopt some digital innovation or figuring out ways to do things differently where you know, we we weren't able to get together for large fundraising events or host social gatherings or things like that.
Did you find that really put a lot of pressure on some of these innovations or efforts to move in that direction over the past couple years?
I think pressure is a good word, but it also kind of forced us to innovate and find those opportunities.
For example, in fundraising sector, we used to have marathons and run in person and we were quickly forced to find solutions.
What does the virtual race look like for example, and taking it a notch further, What does the immersive experience of fundraising look like?
What does the like stream marathon like or what does a virtual race in the metaverse look like?
So it has given us a lot more opportunity to think outside the box and also kind of see where the market is changing.
And a lot of our engagement strategies are basically kind of enabled through digital solutions right now.
But it's also kind of a mix of hybrid what we see the engagement strategy within the digital ecosystem, but also how does that drive to bring them back in person now that we kind of post covid-era (hopefully).
Yeah, it's interesting.
I've tried to attend as many virtual events as I could over the past few years, you know, I went to a few good ones and some really awful ones and it is a very difficult thing to navigate what does that virtual event look like and how is it going to be engaging and how is it going to be successful.
So hopefully we're getting back to a little bit more of the in-person events.
I'm attending my first one since 2020 next month. So I'm really excited for that.
But you know I think we do have some exciting things on the horizon with metaverse and virtual reality and augmented reality and I know we'll get into a few of those topics a little bit later but I'm really excited to kind of see how that grows a lot of these virtual spaces.
So we spoke about digitalization, where would your main focus be as you lead the innovation efforts right now at CCS
I think the purpose of innovation is to create value creation at its core and value can be created by either doing things differently or trying something different.
We are looking at a lot of innovation at the product level kind of understanding what is market kind of resonating too.
And the interesting aspect about innovation right now is a lot of our insights are donor-validated
So we're testing new products, we are testing new channel optimization tactics, and seeing where is the market appetite. or how do we engage our donors in a more meaningful way?
And the crux and the core of it is that value exchange, which is a different mindset than how we would traditionally work.
It was kind of one size fits all, so to speak, but now where we are with a lot of, you know, data-driven decision making, we are seeing that offerings are moving from being just product-centric to more donor-centric marketing where actually donors are helping us drive the product and you know, in any typical product development set up, your product design needs to evolve to kind of stay relevant with the audience and we're finding that the same muscle needs to be there in the innovation approach within the fundraising context.
So we're kind of taking the lead from the market and one of the key things that worked well for us is adopting the agile mindset and methodology as you are aware Adam. In the fundraising context you have to be very mindful, where do you invest the donor dollars, and pretty much the pressure is on. every pilot of yours has to be successful.
So that's where kind of moving away from waterfall to agile has been really helpful for us to be able to concurrently evaluate multiple streams of tasks or initiatives and see with the data-driven insight which is the most compelling one to scale up, and kind of be able to cap the ones or kind of have the permission to fail faster, which is, you know, a new muscle and sometimes they say if you learn quickly what not to do that's far better learning than continuing something which down the line would not be as impactful. so really interesting.
I think the approach is changing and evolving, but it's also the talent pool where we're seeing a lot of technical background people kind of joining the fold of fundraising and it is bringing the fresh perspective into innovation as well.
Yeah, that's a great perspective to get insight in. It's it is very challenging, especially being an innovation when you're trying to figure out where you want to put the dollars and your investor's money and you want to make sure that they're feeling like they've made a smart investment, and you've got to decide what the best project is to, to put that money and you know.
Especially in innovation, sometimes you, you just really don't know when you're kind of taking this shot in the dark and especially with all these new technologies coming out like metaverse and crypto and web3 and like these are all going to have major impacts on a lot of different industries, but you know, most companies don't have internal teams that have a whole lot of knowledge around these, so you know, where do you start, what do you like, where's that jumping off point?
How are you, how do you share that?
You have confidence in this project working out, so it's great to hear that you're taking a really data-driven approach and it sounds like you partner with some very intelligent people to help you with those decisions.
That being said, you know, with all these new technologies, are there any particular ones you're most excited about or interested in pursuing?
I think I'm biased, but I also kind of want to say, I feel AI-driven fundraising is going to be a game changer.
And the reason I say that we keep hearing a lot of machine learning implementation in for-profit and the research and the healthcare sector where we can really see great use cases, but there's also the other aspect of using AI-based intelligence tools to optimize the fundraising aspect.
So for example, just for some of our audience, the use cases that haven't been really explored in the fundraising charitable sector or maybe some charities are doing some parts of it.
But there is huge opportunity.
For example, you can act based on the historic data and so look at the data from like three lenses.
Initially, we were looking at data from more of a monitor and analyze.
So our platforms are fragmented.
Our data was fragmented over the last 10 years.
We were kind of trying to centralize the data, structure the data, and now where we are in the fundraising sector, we're at this cusp of where we kind of monitor the data to analyze trends based on past behavior and we are ready to look at predicting the data and trends, which is a very exciting opportunity for us as fundraisers because you can use the technology and machine learning tools to not only give you recommendations what campaigns a donor would resonate with, it also kind of can help you offer the right products of the right channel based on the donor readiness.
So you're not kind of offering a product which is not relevant to the donor.
And even AI is being kind of tested for content optimization. For example, at Canadian cancer Society a lot of our visitors are coming to find information.
So how do you use AI and machine learning to kind of have translations to make it easy to use and also optimize the donor experience so that they find the right information quickly.
And in the last piece, I would say about AI like I mentioned the predictive analytics.
There is a huge shift of using the data. Typically we would use the next best action and it's a very common term which is used in the for-profit is what's the next action for the corporate?
Which product to sell to?
We're flipping that concept in the non for profit.
We're saying, what is the next best action for the donors?
So that's a huge shift because it's not corporate or it's not charitable sector, which is deciding what products to sell. It is the donor that is kind of their preference and their donor insights and motivations that is helping us to craft those tailored personalized experiences and we are seeing the initial results of using the rigor of donor segmentation or empathy mapping, kind of putting the head and heart together because fundraising is all about inspiring people for their generosity.
So how do you kind of look at those pieces together and create that ecosystem where people are inspired to give people are inspired to engage or sometimes people are just inspired to share their voice. I think that's an important aspect as well.
That's a really interesting perspective, I really love hearing about your data approach and the different levels where you use that in the decision-making process and what you're doing with it.
I know we've spoken in the past about the core verse crowd concept and I know you're quite passionate about it and obviously I am as well working in crowdsourcing, how do you currently leverage that concept and where do you see it taking you down the road?
I think, like I said, we both have a shared passion about kind of exploring the crowd very interestingly for non for profit sector or like we've always been kind of confined with the knowledge within the sector itself.
So for the longest time when it came to innovation or looking out of the box, organizations, charitable organizations have looked within their core who are defined as their employees or the networks who have really great expertise and experience about the industry insights.
So, as we've been evolving for the last, I would say 4-5 years, there is this huge emergence of looking at crowd, which for some of our listeners is basically it's totally opposite to your core.
It is people who are not from the industry, but it's also diversity of ideation, which is the main driver.
So by no means I'm declaring here that, you know, the crowd is kind of going to replace core.
I think crowd is a way to see how to complement innovation so that we are not limited.
And sometimes, as they say, it's the curse of knowledge because we know so much about our industry and there's such a structured way about like whether it's fundraising model or how to engage the donors.
We don't want to restrict our thinking by traditional thinking.
So that's where this core versus crowd concept becomes really interesting to open up new avenues for problem-solving and just to give some examples like, you know, Apple, when they launched their app store, initially, they were trying to sell the product and kind of prepare the growth and eventually they invited all the app developers across the world to contribute.
Not only did they ask them to do their own podcast or feature promotion, but they also asked them to kind of start sharing.
So that was an interesting concept where the corporate is kind of letting go of the control and you kind of, you understand, you're, you're at the crux of it, this open source innovation where you're letting people contribute, but it's also like how do you build the momentum on that?
The other examples from the healthcare sector - biologist in the University of Washington, they have this biggest challenge.
They were looking at the virus of the AIDS-related virus for the last 15 years and there was a lot of work and innovation that was kind of going around that.
And finally, they invited external contributors for the problem-solving.
They had some great wins there, as we all know.
But again, this concept of utilizing the crowd for your innovations - is picking up steam in for profit and I'm very grateful and excited to see some of the work that is happening within the charitable sector about reimagined fundraising and I'm part of some of the council group discussions as well.
And we are seeing that, you know, a lot of young generations from the better, worse and, you know, NFTS and all that, They're coming up with really cool solutions.
But then the challenge becomes when core comes with the expertise, which of these innovations can actually be scaled out.
So I think there's the right mix of kind of having that core to complement the crowd strategy.
Yeah, I couldn't agree more, you know, I really don't ever see the crowd replacing the core, I think, you know, the core is one of the most important parts because you can go to the crowd and crowdsource a lot of different levels of the innovation process.
Like you mentioned, ideation is where we see some of the most success, but what do you do once you get those ideas you can try to leverage the crowd again, but your internal team is the one that's going to be able to take those ideas the best and implement them and really bring them to life.
So you know, I think it's, it's always gonna be a complimentary thing where you need both, but it is nice to see more and more organizations in lots of different industries starting to adopt you know, crowdsourcing on many different levels of the innovation process.
It's like you said that curse of knowledge, you don't even realize how the blinders can affect you when you're so close to a problem where you've been working in the same industry for so long and you just kind of have that bias of that old way of thinking. Some of the organizations we work with or have worked with recently have been around some of the technologies that we've been talking about and they just used the crowd to kind of figure out where that like where to start.
You know, we just worked with Airbus recently, they were looking to just figure out how they can incorporate the metaverse in their in-flight experience and they just wanted some ideas from people around the world or what they wanted to see.
Whether that's going to be being able to put on your virtual reality glasses and sit on the plane and feel like you're on the beach before you even get there.
I don't know what we're gonna see, but they got some amazing ideas from the crowd and then their in-house team is gonna kind of take those and develop them and figure out which ones they want to pursue and where they want to invest those dollars.
But it's great to see that nonprofits are looking for crowds as well.
Would you say there's a specific type of crowd you're looking for?
I know you probably fundraise on a fairly global level.
Is there a certain crowds that you find more relevant to connect with and to build around the projects you're working on?
I think that's a great question Adam because one of the limitations is the technology partnership, so we are finding that sometimes when you have global challenges like education, healthcare, or kind of something which technology can drive having partners like yourself which can open up the network for you, but it's also like I mentioned the crowd doesn't have to be from the industry itself.
So we are finding that in the ideation space, it's a lot of new platform, what does engagement look like and how do you kind of as a charity move away and let the donor and the cost kind of interact directly?
So what does that look like?
And there's also like you mentioned a lot of interesting work happening where corporates are trying to get into the metaverse part of it.
So very interestingly, I think the last six months there's been this conversation, what does the immersive fundraising look like?
And you mentioned that about your going back to the marathon?
So I'm actually running for the Run for the Cure, which starts in October. So in the virtual the last two years, usually I used to do like, you know, five K run, But in the last two years, it was funny because I started doing a challenge of 50,000 steps and it was a very fun thing that started where I said, Okay, I can do 50,000 steps in like a week.
So I invited my friends and family saying that you can donate, or you can donate your steps.
And it was, it was very funny, it became like a little thing about us, like where I saw like everybody kind of getting on the treadmill because a lot of us could not go out or biking and sending me their steps, but in a way it was like all of a sudden you have this you know, one too many fundraising, but it's a more immersive way and it was just like sharing your steps rather than the donation up front.
But like you mentioned, there are so many corporates which are kind of trying to get into this immersive space, for example, the for-profits are trying to get into space and get some credibility, that's where they look at cost-based partnership for their CSR, the streamers and we'll kind of talk a little bit more about that are trying to get into this space because they want to build credibility but they also want to have this instant gratification for their followers.
So there is a lot of opportunities like you mentioned and look at this like you and I connected based on this concept, we were just discussing like what are the opportunities of innovation and we probably are from different industries totally, but there is so much synergy that we can participate and build something collaborative together.
So I think that that's a new way of thinking now.
For sure and I certainly agree with the synergies, even just some of the things you say are just things that I we say you know every day on our team so that the alignment is really there and that's why I always enjoy our conversations and I love that idea of sharing the steps. nowadays everyone's got their phone in their pocket or their Apple watch, tracking their steps and that's a cool way to really just get people involved and you know, also pushing people just be a little bit more active knowing they've got to donate some steps this week, so they better add them up.
I know we've touched on some different kinds of partnerships, building crowds and working with other organizations, and then we also mentioned, you know, the importance of having that core team and setting yourself up internally with all the large partnerships you have on the go and that you're focusing on how do you and your team set yourself up internally to make sure you're getting the most out of those relationships?
That's an interesting question because as more and more partnerships coming to play their two-pronged approach that we have to take.
One is the first, the critical one being the value alignment, especially when you come from a college sector, you want to make sure that you're partnering with other associations or partners who have the same value framework. That's key.
The second piece, I would say like a lot of these partnerships where we're going because we are not the subject matter expert in that area.
So we are kind of relying on these partners to kind of make some introductions for us and these partnerships, typically our long-term partnership, so we have short-term goals, but like in any other model, like when you're entering a new market or you're entering a new product, it takes time for us to kind of get more maturity in that market.
So the second aspect of that partnership is like looking at long-term view rather than kind of looking at point in time or short term, and we are also kind of looking at what is the growth trajectory.
So what are the areas this organization or partner wants to grow and what are the opportunities for us to kind of leverage and create some partnerships along the way?
So again, like it's beyond like local representation or kind of having a package customized package for all the Corporates were really trying to create something unique with the partners that were working in which can be eventually kind of customized as a CCS property or something, which to your point like what is that pull strategy where we create something special and people kind of don't want to come to us rather than us finding the donors.
So that's an interesting part that may be evolving.
Yeah, for sure. I do a lot of work in our partnership department as well. And I love those kind of relationships because you know, when you can find a way to be mutual beneficial with each other and, you know, grow together and work in such synergy.
It's such a rewarding relationship to build.
So one of my favorite things when we always get together to chat is the gamifying fundraising process because I get excited about these technologies as you might have been able to tell conversation already. Every time we've talked and I've left the conversation with my mind's been spinning on how all the different ways some of these technologies can support gamifying the fundraising process.
What are the most exciting opportunities you're seeing in the near future?
I think the eSports and eGames is a vertical where we've just kind of scratched the surface. We're testing waters.
There are some charitable organizations out there who are more evolved, but the adoption for that stream has still been slower.
So for us at Canadian Cancer Society, we recently launched our live-streaming strategy and we apartment with Tiltify and that's a terrific live-streaming platform, which lets streamers and donors kind of live stream and raise funds for the causes they like.
And it was very interesting for us to see like right from like the karaoke nights to kind of baking session to, you know, streamers running a 24-hour stream of town like the very engagement we saw in the initial uptick of that was really, really encouraging and there's three-pronged approach.
First, we're looking at just kind of looking at our donors who want to have, who have an appetite to kind of live stream.
We're also looking at corporate partnerships.
And then the third one is where we kind of make those strategic events, where we will have annual events where people and streamers kind of come and visit and kind of fundraise together.
But the interesting part about that is it has exposed us to this new realm of donors and fundraisers, or call them our supporters and advocates, which is streamers and influencers
Now from the charitable sector, I think there is, there's kind of, this is again a new piece of, you know, are the new audience that we are venturing into, where it can't really grow very quickly and as a brand, sometimes you're concerned that you may lose control of the conversations.
So that's where again, to my earlier point, having that value alignment really becomes critical.
And it has been interesting because these causes are very like these streamers who reach out to us really have an authentic connection with the cause, and we can see that like for them to get associated with the brand to create their own credibility is a very key because they're not looking for profits at this point in time for like they have their follower base, they're looking at, how do they kind of have some cause-related affinity to kind of have that credibility in the marketplace and for the charitable sector, looking at influencers and looking at streamers like this huge opportunity and within the north american sector, you're not restricted by the border.
So we're just kind of trying to see what is the year two, year three roadmap look like and you know, it is a fundraising stream on its own and like you mentioned last week, I was having conversations about the metaverse with one of our partners, they have created this virtual library of multiple brands where you can actually go and engaged with different brands in the retail experience.
And to me Adam, that was a very, very interesting, and again, like it's at a very starting stage, but what does it look like when it's not disruptive? like fundraising or giving is not disruptive in your giving experience? It just kind of naturally forms part of what you're doing.
So I think there is some really exciting work to be done in esports and egaming and the immersive fundraising experience as well.
And we were kind of looking at those partnerships, which are long term,
Well, I can definitely agree with esports being an amazing spot to put your focus because some of the stats I hear on the attendance that they get for some of these esports tournaments, they have more people tuning into those than we're at the Super Bowl or watching the Super Bowl, they have an incredible audience.
I think a lot of their big streamers have an amazing following, they're all very loyal and I think there's, there's a lot of traction to capitalize on in that industry.
So I think that's really cool.
Are you going to be focused mainly on sponsoring or partnering with individual streamers or can you see yourself getting involved with large tournaments?
Is there a particular focus you have right now?
I think we're starting with kind of the tier two streamers just to kind of start slower, kind of get into that space, but our intention is, like I said, to look at the corporate partnerships and eventually kind of create proprietary CCS events where I think of it like there's an annual gaming event of stream-a-thon where all the participants can come and join us.
But again, we are learning in this space, like I mentioned, this is very new for us and we'll kind of take the cues from the market and see what's the object.
But initial adoption has been interesting and the other interesting fact for us as typically bulk off our loyal donors from the fundraising sector is boomers, is, our population has kind of been there and their lifetime value or length of being with the charitable sector is longer with streaming and esports.
We're seeing that we are kind of targeting gen Z, so to speak and it is very interesting for them to kind of engage in a more immersive, a but also kind of give us the brand recognition and we understand that we want to stay relevant to this audience.
So I feel like giving in esport is one area where you kind of find that connection and the hook to kind of stay relevant in that space.
One thing that we haven't really spoke about directly yet today, but I know we've touched on in the past is, you know, not so much metaverse, but you know, augmented reality, virtual reality.
and that's one thing that I know a lot of larger organizations are starting to adopt first.
You know, you see, amazon you're able to try on your shoes or your sunglasses and you know, there really is a lot of exciting development around that.
Have you, have you guys been brainstorming around different ways you might be able to implement that technology in some of your fundraising events?
I think it goes back to the question like there's so much opportunity out there and we're trying to kind of wrap our heads around like, which has the biggest impact? and oftentimes like, and that's why having this innovation hub or kind of having the 80 20 rule that 20% you need to allocate your resources and team pool to be thinking of this, like, you know, have that white space to kind of test new ideas is really critical because you never know where the biggest jump in the fundraising would come from, that one small idea and we are having these discussions, but we're also being mindful like, which is the direction we want to go from here?
So kind of testing waters very cautiously.
It's just one thing where my mind always gravitates to it when we have a conversation because I just think about, you know how crazy Pokemon-go went when that first launched and how you might be able to capitalize on, on something along those lines to incorporate fundraising into a game like that. I'm excited to see where it goes with you and your team.
So with that being said, sometimes it's a tough question to answer, looking into the future, but what does fundraising look like in the next 5-10 years from now for you if you could, you know, look into a crystal ball right now and maybe be a little idealistic of what you'd like it to look like as well.
Well, I don't have a crystal ball, but I can rely on data that we have.
I think there's like no denying the fact that digital adoption and technology adoption is going to be one of the key drivers and fundraising for sure.
Looking at the trends right now, we're also moving to evidence-based impact where you know, the transparency of where the donor dollars are going are having those donors stewardships which are led by customized personalized experience is going to be the key to show the impact.
And interestingly, when you look really talk about like what's the landscape, we know that currently in the Canadian context, we have almost 300,000 plus Canadians joining us every year and one in five Canadians, like myself, are not born in Canada, and then stats Canada predict that by 2036.
It's predicted that one in three Canadians will be that not be born in Canada.
But the interesting part about that is the newcomers that are coming in.
They have a they have a huge generosity mindset and they've seen that they want to give back to the community.
So there is this new audience pool, who's coming in, who wants to give back to the community.
So how do we kind of make sure that we target all corners of Canada?
And that will kind of become a necessity, not a luxury anymore, like being present at the diverse kind of communities will be critical and that's something as charitable sector.
I think we are, again, being more intentional about how we cater to all parts of Canada and all audiences within that Canadian sector.
The other part, which really excites me as a fundraiser is, there's no denying of the fact that the great transfer of wealth has started and for context, like bulk of our lion's share of our, you know, fundraising revenue right now comes in from our boomers, and we are seeing that in the next couple of decades that huge.
There is a potential of 1.7 billion transfer of wealth from boomers to the millennials.
Why it is exciting because we've seen that this next generation of fundraisers, they are really conscious about where they want to use their voice and how they want to use their voice.
So their generosity mindset is higher.
They are very particular about the causes they want to support, they really want to make a significant change and they want it to be easy for them.
So I think that's the crux of kind of how do we stay relevant with this newer generation of fundraisers that's coming in, but at the same time, how do we make it more easy for them and more interesting.
I think that's gonna be the challenge and opportunity for fundraising for sure.
And we've seen that the way the newer generations coming in or like when I'm saying it's like the newer generation was coming to fundraising.
For example, if we are getting people in metaverse, the expectation for audience from that size will be very different from our traditional, so not only as fundraisers do we have to evolve our strategies how to acquire them?
We also have to quickly adapt, like how to retain and engage and excite them and nurture them throughout their, you know donor experience.
And that's where like what you mentioned, like augmented reality metaverse or kind of having that immersive experience where there's a clear value exchange and long term kind of relationship building will become key.
A fantastic answer with so many levels.
I don't even really know where to start, but I love your mentality of making sure that the fundraising process grows along with all the changes Canada's going through.
You know, I think, the immigration that Canada has, I think is incredible.
But you are right.
You know, we're changing, faster than ever and it's very important to stay cognizant of that and implement your strategies accordingly.
I'm really excited to see where everything goes with your team.
I know we're going to stay in touch. Was there anything else you wanted to comment on before we jump off the call here?
No, just final thoughts.
I think you kind of touched on that.
We are at this cusp where we're looking at things differently, whether it's charitable sector or otherwise call it like covid-related pressure or like just kind of the exploration innovation.
I truly believe that, you know, strategic partnerships is gonna be the key for even at the Canadian cancer society or just at charitable sector because we do want like-minded partners to come together because, you know, ultimately it's, it's those partnerships more strategic partnerships, more innovation and faster innovation that will kind of help us influence that social change.
So it is exciting to be at this time and things can only get better from here.
Maybe someday we'll see a prize challenge out there to figure out ways that we can implement some of these new technologies we spoke about or different ways we can work together.
So thank you again Smita it was an absolute pleasure chatting with you today, you're an extraordinary business person and partner and innovation and I'm really looking forward again to the difference that you and your team are going to be making.
Thank you to everyone who joined us today for this amazing conversation.
Keep your sights on this powerful leader as the world of fundraising transforms you can find, Smita here on LinkedIn directly or through the Canadian cancer society page to all listeners who joined us live.
If you have any questions or anything post-show, please feel free to reach out to myself or Smita
You can connect with us directly on LinkedIn.
Again, my name is Adam Olsen.
I'm always happy to chat and continue these conversations online.
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