How to Add Some Dr. Dre to Your 2022 Fundraising Plan

Like any regular Geriatric Millennial, I LOST MY MIND when I watched the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year. It was the music that defined the most awkward years of my life – middle school and high school – and while I was able to sing every lyric to every song that was woven into this masterpiece, I also started to notice some interesting trends that made me think that Dr. Dre is not only a freaking genius, but also, there’s a lot to learn from this mastermind as it pertains to your fundraising strategy…. Let’s do like Snoop Dogg and C walk through this talk:

Their Success was Dre’s Success

Yes, Dr. Dre was headlining the Half Time Show (and it was definitely Dre Day!), but he did NOT hog the spotlight, nor make the show directly about his music. Instead, he told the story of his success through the artists he launched and partnered with over the years. This was subtle, yet important…He is a success because THEY are all successes. When positioning your own organization’s successes in your communications plan, think about the stories and individuals that showcase success and share your success through that lens, and don’t position your success as a “win” over someone else’s – we can all be successful with a little teamwork.

This Wasn’t a Flashy Production

Compared to other halftime shows we’ve seen in recent history, the production cost of this wasn’t particularly high or flashy. People weren’t suspended in the air, there weren’t thousands of coordinated drones dancing and even the costumes weren’t over the top (except for Mary J. Blige and that woman DESERVED that outfit!). So many nonprofits think that spending money on flashy things will get them more donors, and that simply isn’t true. Spend money smartly – you do not have to have professional videos done in order to engage donors, and if the money you’re spending is detracting from keeping donors focused on your mission and your ask, you’re doing it wrong. Spend smarter.

Speaking of Mary J. Blige…

That woman knows who she is and who she is not, and she leaned into who she is. She didn’t try to sport stilettos like Beyoncé did, and she wasn’t pushing some crazy choreography…the woman’s 51 years old, and she’s already a success – she knew she didn’t have to try and compete with singers younger than her. Nonprofits need to know who they are and stick to that. Comparison culture in the nonprofit sector will lose you donors, so know who your donors are, know how and why they align with your mission, and keep pushing that home. Stop trying to be like the young, hot nonprofit du jour.

They Honored the Past, But Didn’t Dwell There

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Tupac in this post. I think we all knew there was no way this show was going to go off without “California Love” showing up in the song line up…except for that one issue of Tupac being dead and all. But, that famous song about California – collaboration between Dre and Shakur – launched both men onto the Billboards for years to come. Then there was the slower part of the show when Dre sat down at the piano and played the opening to “I Ain’t Mad At Cha”. Tupac spent the better part of his adulthood in the same area as the SoFi stadium, and so while he was never on Dre’s label, their collaboration, and the location of the game warranted a nod to his memory. For fundraising, you don’t need to dwell on the the past in order to be successful today. Remember what shaped you, but also remember how far you’ve come.

E Took a Knee

This was possibly the most controversial part of the halftime show. At the end of his segment, Eminem took a knee…and stayed there for a while. How does this relate to fundraising? I think it’s important to know where your organization stands – or kneels – on social justice issues, and is willing to discuss that with donors. So many organizations want to appeal to EVERYONE, and in some instances that’s simply impossible. Yes, you may lose some donors along the way, but I also firmly believe it will strengthen your relationships with the donors who align with your values. This isn’t to say you need a stance for EVERY issue, but know what aligns with your mission, vision, and values, and be willing to discuss that.

And Lastly….You KNEW Why This Show was Important

Overall the show’s theme, it’s participants, the choreography, EVERYTHING tied back to a theme. You felt it throughout the entire 14+ minutes of the show. Too many Half Time shows try to do too much in too little time that it’s just a visual vomit of colors, lights, pyrotechnics, etc. that by the end you ask “what just happened?” – nonprofits do this too. When developing a fundraising plan for the year, make sure it’s comprehensive, but always comes back to a theme. To us, it will set each ask up for success. Have one theme for the year, and let that theme shine in your marketing, communications, and fundraising. Your audience will understand what’s going on and will feel connected to the whole story. This will especially pay dividends for your End of Year Campaign.

So Yea, Don’t Forget About Dre

You can watch the Super Bowl Half Time Show HERE