Monday, April 22, 2013

BIG’s Blog: When a Page Turns, it Turns Fast

“When a page turns, it turns fast.”

Jerry Weintraub on Paul Anka in the May issue of “Vanity Fair.”
Jerry’s writing about his friend, Paul Anka. Let me give you the complete paragraph for context:
“For Paul, the biggest test, the thing that could have killed his career before it really got started, came in the early 60s, when the Beatles made their first tour of the United States. My God, nothing was the same after that. It was as if the old cavalcade of stars was folded up and shoved in the back of the closet. The biggest stars of the 50s, the heartthrobs, they couldn’t get on radio or sell 10 tickets to a show. WHEN A PAGE TURNS, IT TURNS FAST. You might run across some old rock idol and suddenly he is not 19, he’s 27 and pushing a broom around Grand Central, or working as an agent.”
Props to Bob Lefsetz from his blog for the above.
Jerry Weintraub’s story about Paul Anka is a perfect metaphor and object lesson for today’s mature fundraising organizations that are overly dependent on direct mail appeals.
Many in the direct mail fundraising community had heard about the decision of the American Cancer Society at the end of last year, but they were either keeping it quiet or were in denial it would really happen. But then, when Angie Moore, a respected consultant, wrote an article in Successful Fundraising about the American Cancer Society dropping acquisition mailing… all hell broke loose.
Here’s the deal.  Direct mail as a “technique” will be with us for some time to come, but “direct mail programs” are fast becoming history. And what most mature nonprofit fundraising organizations have are direct mail PROGRAMS.
Will this happen overnight? Probably not, although it could. The question is this: What is your Plan B?
Some of the smartest and most successful direct mail fundraisers are evolving duel strategies. What is a duel strategy? A duel strategy is managing two completely different strategic fundraising approaches for separate audiences. For example, they are continuing to manage their direct mail “program” approach as they always have (because that is effective with older donors) while decreasing acquisition mailing and managing the profitability decline they see already happening in their direct mail programs. Their other strategy is to ramp up a separate “pure online” strategy targeting the Baby Boomers, Gen-X and the Millennial generations.
“When a page turns, it turns fast”… are you ready?
Join us.
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