Friday, May 17, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Don’t stop mailing to my mother!

My mother is 86 years old. If you quit mailing your appeals to her and her friends, they will most assuredly stop sending you checks. Don’t do that!

Keep sending your appeals by mail to my mother.
What, however, is your plan once my mother and her generational cohort are no longer capable of sending you donations?
What is your Plan B?
That is the real question, NOT… ”To mail or not to mail?”
Can you still acquire new donors by mail? In general, the answer is yes. But it is a complex question depending on the unique dynamics of your charity. But, in general, yes.
Can you build your organization’s future donors on direct mail appeals? In general, no.
Is there a contradiction there? Absolutely not.
The truth is, everyone, including the direct mail industry, knows this. The American Cancer Society’s announcement that they were terminating direct mail acquisition appeals set off a firestorm of conversations. Suddenly, fundraisers woke up to a major name in direct mail fundraising actually doing what many other fundraising organizations should be doing, and that is looking at their long-term strategy.
But then the knee-jerk comments started. It was if the pendulum swung all the way to the other side overnight. “Abandon direct mail, abandon direct mail,” went the cries from fundraising organizations across the land.
That’s just silliness!
Well, what’s the alternative to direct mail? The obvious answer is online, but the not so obvious answer is that a successful fundraising strategy that is 100% online is an Apple to direct mail being an Orange. Like the old saying goes, they are Apples and Oranges. It is not reality that an Apple (a successful direct mail effort) will turn into an Orange (a successful online strategy) at some point in the future. They are two completely different and separate fruits.
The direct mail industry has its methodologies to keep fundraisers successful with direct mail appeals.
Browne Innovation Group and others have their methodologies to make fundraisers successful with an online strategy.
Can they work together? If you want to remain successful and get back on the growth path in fundraising, you had better be employing both today.
They are Apples and Oranges…but today, you need both to remain healthy in fundraising.
Join us.
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