Friday, December 6, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Fundraisers in the Driver’s Seat

Cory Treffiletti posts some great blogs about marketing in the commercial world. Problem is, marketing in the nonprofit fundraising world has historically been somewhat different in scale and focus of media. Recently he posted a blog with the intriguing title: “Does Marketing Work?” Is it worth reading for a nonprofit fundraiser? I’ll let you decide, but below I pull out his major point for commercial marketers that . . . interestingly enough . . . connects to nonprofit fundraisers.

Cory’s major point is that, historically, when large corporations spent money . . . significant money . . . on marketing, there was no way to quantifiably measure. To quote Cory, “the metrics simply weren’t there for a significant portion of the budget, and it’s hard to defend millions of dollars worth of expenditures without concrete numbers to justify it.”

Yet when it comes to measuring ROI, those nonprofit fundraisers that utilized direct mail for a significant portion of their revenue were way ahead of large commercial corporations that relied on television and other media, where 1-to-1 metrics were impossible to obtain.

But now direct mail is fading in effectiveness for nonprofits. But then, television and other forms of traditional “push” advertising media are also fading in effectiveness for large commercial corporations.


Digital disruption!

The Internet and all things digital are changing the landscape of how commercial marketers and even nonprofit fundraisers connect with and engage their customers/donors.

The dirty little secret is that all nonprofit fundraisers with a history of direct mail (read “direct marketing”) experience have a leg up on their commercial marketing brethren. Success in the new digital marketing world is built on a knowledge of direct marketing. Yes, the Internet is forcing the un-measurable old media advertisers to learn what nonprofit direct marketers have always understood . . . and that is that all direct marketing is built on three tiers: data (the list), execution (the direct mail package) and reporting (back-end analysis).

But that isn’t the only advantage of the new Internet paradigm for nonprofit fundraisers.

Nonprofit fundraisers can play on the Internet and SIZE DOESN’T MATTER.  Everyone can create a Website, send email, use Facebook and use all kinds of the same inexpensive or free online marketing and analysis tools. Example: Facebook costs your organization and a multinational corporation exactly the same thing . . . zip. A nonprofit raising $250,000 a year can play as big on the Internet as Ford or Apple (okay, maybe not Apple, but you get my point).

Am I oversimplifying to make a point? Yes, but only a bit. The fact that you know what I am saying is true doesn’t mean that you know (today) how all the details make it work for your fundraising organization. One thing, however, is an absolute certainty, and that is the digital marketing world isn’t “going to happen,” it’s already here.

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