Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Stuck In Concrete?

Virtually all the fundraising organizations I talk to have a fundraising business model that is firmly locked in the 1950s. But don’t get me wrong, it works for my 86 year old Mother. Keep sending her direct mail appeals and she will keep sending you checks.

Will my Mother still be walking this earth in ten years? I sure hope so, but I am also realistic and we are planning accordingly.

But most fundraising organizations that count my Mother as a supporter certainly believe she will be around in ten or even fifteen years, and unless I miss my guess, they are betting their organizations on it.

I know they have all added Websites, and some tell me they are actually looking at apps. Great! But how do those digital initiatives mesh with their direct mail appeals? Or do they?

It seems they have one foot firmly planted in the past…in fact, embedded in concrete… and another “playing” with digital tools without any real plan or strategy.

A lot of fundraising groups whose direct mail results are sliding tell me they are ramping up planned giving, and even creating a new planned giving category for major donors. That’s great. But where are the leads coming from for planned giving? They are coming from your direct mail program… right? So as your direct mail declines, where do the new leads come from?

The online world isn’t a fad. Virtually all commercial companies have had to adjust their marketing and communications to the online world. That’s clearly where most of the people are. Most commercial companies understand that their growth is coming from their online marketing. Not all, but the fastest growing part.

Like I said at the top of this note, you’ve got my Mother as a supporter. Problem is, do you have her kids and her grandkids? The Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the Millennials make up the generations that will support your mission in the future. And if you are going to engage them, it is probably online.


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