Friday, August 26, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Earthquakes, Postal Crisis and Human Nature

In my blog on Wednesday, I juxtaposed the two earthquakes that hit the U.S. this week with the equally big coming jolt to nonprofit direct mail fund raisers that that are going to lose all or a part of their nonprofit postal discount.

It turns out that Seth Godin, who offices outside New York City and presumably experienced the eastern quake, also wrote a blog about earthquakes.

I thought that sharing his two points about earthquakes and human nature were “spot on” in comparing the way nonprofit direct mail fund raising groups are reacting to the coming postal crisis.

Seth’s Point #1. The first thing that happens after we encounter an earthquake is to wonder if anyone else felt it. The need for group validation is widespread and happens for events that don’t involve earthquakes as well.

In my last Wednesday blog, maybe I was thinking too much like the geologist when I found myself not understanding “why” these nonprofit direct mail fund raising leaders at the 2011 New York Nonprofit Conference last week were not talking about the very real potential of losing their postal discount. But, after reading Seth Godin’s blog point #1, it hit me. Of course – it hasn’t happened yet! As Seth states above, there is a need for group validation AFTER the event happens.

Seth’s Point #2. Organizations are busy evacuating buildings, even national monuments. Even though experience indicates that the most dangerous thing you can do is have tens of thousands of people run down stairs, cram into elevators and stand in the streets, we do it anyway. Why? Because people like to do something. Action, even ineffective action, is something societies seek out during times of uncertainty.

There is no doubt that this whole Postal Service financial crisis will end badly for nonprofit direct mail fund raisers. How bad? We just don’t know. But, what we do know is that when it happens, human nature will have nonprofit direct mail fund raisers scrambling to do something.

Hopefully your fund raising organization employs a geologist that has convinced your organization that the “big one is coming” and you have created a plan for the post-Postal discount world of direct marketing fund raising. Now is the best time to be thinking, planning and developing alternate strategies.


P.S. If the “geologist” reference makes no sense to you, re-read last Wednesday’s blog.

Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.

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