Wednesday, December 25, 2013

BIG’s Blog: I Rejoice at Your Success

As we wind down to the end of the year, most of us have our office, friend, and family Christmas parties that are a great time to reconnect . . . but also remind us to reach out and connect with other friends and colleagues we have missed throughout the year. Sometimes we are intentional and other times we are reminded by a note, a Christmas card, or in my case, our blog. Yes, I get more emails from blog readers at this time of the year. Maybe they have been meaning to write and then they read one of my blogs and, bam, they act.

Apparently my recent post, "The Tyranny of the Now," was one of those blogs that reminded them to act. That blog encapsulates many of the of themes that fundraisers are struggling with and that I have tried to cover all year. In this recent blog I also mentioned the reality of the long-term decline of direct mail appeals and I even noted the recent announcement by the Canadian Postal Service. The number of emails from blog readers has hit new records, but then our subscriber list has grown as well. In fact, this news about the Canadian Postal Service was so big that some readers sent me notes even before I mentioned it in my blog, which, of course, means it was really big news.

Some of the notes were from regular readers of my blogs telling me that their mail responses were up from last year . . . as if I do not REJOICE in their success. But as JP Morgan, the old Wall Street baron, once said when asked about the market, "the market sir, will fluctuate." Over and over I emphasize again and again that many organizations still have time (due to their still-profitable direct mail) to begin building their future fundraising model, which will be 100% online. Fundraisers need to look at the long-term trend lines of their direct mail programs. Take the time now to begin your new model while you have positive cash flow. I'll bet the senior managers from Kodak would like a "do over" of their decision years ago to dismiss digital photography because they "owned" film. Whether they actually believed film would never go away, or just didn't want to rock the boat, we'll probably never really know for sure. But we can learn from their mistake.

Many fundraising groups across different nonprofit sectors are reporting strength in giving this year versus the last few years, but it is still uneven. Unfortunately, in the faith-based sector where I primarily work, results are heavily tilted to the flat to decline . . . yet again . . . and we all know the reasons.

So, as the radio talk show hosts of the 1950s used to say, "keep those cards and letters (and emails) coming.”

Join us.
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