By Joel Nicholson – LemonTree Founder

We are now living in a Trust Economy. Thanks to today’s technology, digital and social media, we can quickly and easily connect with – and do business with – more and more people from all over the world. Forget Bitcoin. Trust has become the currency ‘du jour’.

But how ‘real’ are these connections?

How much do we really know – and trust – our 4.9 star-rated Uber driver?

Or the owners of the Airbnb house we’ve just booked?

Or the latest person to follow us on Instagram?

What do they really know about us?

With the growing number of connections, has come growing statistics on depression, disengagement and authenticity, along with a continuing decline in the World Trust Index, suggesting that we are suffering from a false sense of connection and belonging.

Winning and losing in the Trust Economy

As humans, we are social, communal beings at heart. We want to meaningfully connect with our communities. We want to belong to a tribe. We want more meaning, more fulfillment, more happiness.

In the Not-For-Profit industry specifically – where a common question from donors is: “Where does my money go?” – it is becoming increasingly important to focus on growing lasting, sustainable relationships vs. amassing unsubstantiated connections.

Fundraisers and charities that focus on relationships over transactional connections will be the winners in this new era.

Keeping our donors is more important than ever.

Those that don’t invest in getting to know and understand their donors and provide them with real value, will fall away in this trust economy and lose the chance to make a real difference to their cause.

Donor-Centric Life in the Trust Economy

In the trust economy, every donor is deeply understood and deeply valued.

We move from transactions (RFM) to motivations and preferences.

You are genuinely connected with your donors.

You collaborate with others to further your knowledge and understanding of your donors so you can truly care for and work in their best interests!

Those natural human chemicals of Oxytocin and Sertonin are flowing.

What do we need to thrive in the Trust Economy?

What if you knew your localised motivated donor?

What if you knew the exact time of year your donor prefers to support your cause?

What if you knew which donors shared the plight of YOUR cause and which donors are simply do-gooders?

How would you communicate with them?

How would you engage with them?

How would you attract and retain them?

The reality of the Trust Economy reality is now.

In 2018, 54 LemonTree members, leant in and embraced the Trust Economy.

They are now matching messages to motivation segments; testing multi channels across Direct Mail, eDM, SMS and phone; and tracking LTV vs. immediate response rates.

How are you adapting to the Trust Economy? (Share your comments below)

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