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Beyonce, the Big-Mo & Fundraising

In December 2013, with no advertising and a single photo on Instagram, Beyoncé released her fifth album on iTunes.

What happened next blew the music world away.

In just three hours, Beyoncé sold 80 thousand copies of her album.

By the end of the first day, she sold 430 thousand copies.

Within three days, she broke iTunes records by selling a whopping 828,733 digital copies.

Her album became number one in 104 countries!

Normally, music companies spend tons of money promoting albums. They release singles early, push people to pre-order, spend money on radio ads, and even have their artists perform on big shows like Saturday Night Live. But Beyoncé didn’t do any of that. Still, her album outsold albums by famous artists like Lady Gaga, Eminem, Kanye West, and Robin Thicke.

How did Beyoncé manage this incredible achievement without the usual promotional tactics?

Industry leaders say that Beyonce’s overnight success happened because of her years of hard work teaching millions of people to pay attention to her. In marketing, this is called audience building.

Beyoncé understood the power of the Big-Mo: MOMENTUM. She put in years of hard work to achieve the momentum that would make her an overnight success!

Visionary fundraisers understand and take advantage of this kind of audience-building momentum.

Visionary fundraisers grow ten-thousand dollar budgets into hundred-thousand dollar budgets and hundred-thousand dollar budgets into million dollar budgets. Over time, they take advantage of the Big-Mo.

Visionary fundraisers tell marvelous stories over the long haul and teach donors to pay attention to them. And when donors pay attention to them, their appeals fall on ever more eager and willing ears.

Audience building refers to the process of developing and growing a dedicated group of individuals or followers who are interested in and engaged with a particular person, brand, product, or content. It involves creating a connection and fostering relationships with people who share common interests or preferences.

In the context of a musician like Beyoncé, audience building means steadily gaining fans and followers over time by consistently releasing music, performing live, engaging with fans on social media, and maintaining a strong presence in the public eye. Building an audience involves connecting with people who appreciate your work, forming a loyal fan base, and creating a community around your content and persona.

Successful audience building often involves strategies such as:

1. Consistently delivering high-quality content: Creating content that resonates with the audience and consistently meets their expectations.

2. Engaging with the audience: Interacting with followers through social media, live events, meet-and-greets, or other means to establish a personal connection and strengthen relationships.

3. Understanding the audience: Knowing the preferences, interests, and demographics of the target audience to tailor content and communication effectively.

4. Building a brand and identity: Developing a unique persona or brand that distinguishes you from others and resonates with the audience.

Overall, audience building is about nurturing a dedicated and engaged following over time through various means to create a supportive community around you, your mission, vision and your organization.

Many moments that seem to suddenly go “viral” actually stem from years of hard work. Beyoncé methodically honed her skills, her public image, and her standing to create enduring interest in everything she’s involved in—whether it’s her music albums, advertisements, or clothing line.

Beyoncé taught people to pay attention to her.


Visionary fundraisers are called to consistently deliver high-quality content, engage with their audience, understand that audience, and build an organizational identity. This happens when you consistently tell great stories week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade.

Familiarity is the key to audience building.

You must:

  • Continually tell quality beneficiary stories about impact.

  • Continually tell quality stories about your volunteer’s journey to serving in your organization.

  • Continually tell your story about your journey into being a voice for your beneficiaries.

  • Continually tell stories about how your people established their legacy by giving to your organization.

Your overnight success is a matter of momentum. Momentum is the savvy fundraiser’s best friend. Many times momentum is the ONLY difference between winning and losing.

When leaders have momentum they look better than they actually are. When followers have it, they perform better than usual.

Momentum is the greatest of all change agents. Visionary fundraisers know that ninety percent of their success is a result of creating momentum BEFORE asking donors to give.

Your first five-, six- or seven-figure gift is just around the corner! IF you don’t stop building your audience. Thousand dollar gifts are grown from hundred dollar gifts over time. Ten-thousand dollar gifts are grown from one-thousand dollar gifts, over time. One-hundred thousand dollar gifts are grown from ten-thousand dollar gifts, over time.

One of the major ways to build this kind of momentum is through storytelling over time. Great storytelling about the impact your mission, over time, builds momentum and expectation in your donors and potential donors.

The better you are at storytelling, and the longer you stick with it, the more money you will raise.

The Big-Mo is your best friend.

I believe in you!


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