From Steve Jobs: focus and simplicity

publication date: May 4, 2012
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas

Steve Jobs shared many prophetic words in his life. In business terms, for me, none were wiser than the following. (And if you're an Apple geek like me you'll totally understand how Jobs turned that vision into reality.)Jonathon Grapsas photo

"That's been one of my mantras-focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."

I talk about focus and simplicity a lot, because frankly, they're not among the core strengths of our sector.

When online retention works

Recently I hosted a webinar called "The Art of Online Retention." We've been managing some successful monthly giving retention programs specifically for face-to-face recruited donors. As I shared the pillars of these programs with the participants, it became increasingly apparent just how applicable Jobs' mantra was.

To illustrate this, take a look at the things that made these programs so effective.
  • The content was regular and relevant to individual supporters, including requests for ongoing feedback.
  • We shared human stories of people helped by donors' monthly support.
  • Users were able to look, touch, listen and feel with content shared through video, audio and the written word.
  • Supporters were encouraged to become agents of change by advocating as well as giving.
  • We shared stuff from the desk of the CEO.
  • We made it mobile friendly and easy.
  • The content was delivered programmatically (in other words it was automated, taking the pain out of complex retention programs).
Simplicity and focus built in

There's no rocket science going on here.

It was simple because we made everything so easy and seamless for supporters. We didn't make people work hard to understand how they were making such a big dent in the problems of the world.

Simple design, simple language, simple messaging. We didn't try to sound or look clever. We told it as it was - simply.

Content was focused in that it was completely about supporters and reminding them why their monthly support was so critical.

In a world full of clutter and noise, stop every now and again and remember what Jobs said. "It's worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains."

Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.

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