Monday, January 6, 2014

BIG’s Blog: How many Checks do you write?

I ran a mail-order company in the 1980s. We processed thousands (actually, tens of thousands) of checks. How many credit cards did we process a month? Maybe ten. Checks dominated!  

Do checks still dominate your personal life? I’m not talking about your workplace; I’m talking about YOUR LIFE.

How old are you? 40s? 50s? 60s? Seriously, how many checks are you writing a month compared to five years ago?

YOU are obviously living in 2014, yet your fundraising organization is stuck … yes, stuck … in a time warp of the 1980s if more than 20% of your revenue comes in through checks. Some would say I am being “awfully generous” when I say 20%.

So who writes checks today? You think I am only going to mention people in my Mother’s age group who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Yes, that is true, but I’m guessing you are getting checks today from people in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

And if they are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, then they are just like you, right? They have “to dig out their checkbook” to send you a donation.

It’s schizophrenic isn’t it? You don’t use that many checks, yet you expect the people that are just like you to dig out their checkbook to make a donation to YOUR organization? You have long-since stopped making checks the center of your financial transaction world and you KNOW many of the people who donate to you are just like you … and yet … the check remains THE mechanism of nonprofit transactions.


Maybe because your primary mechanism to communicate with them is mail. And what is in every mail package? Answer: a reply envelope. And what are reply envelopes for? Answer: to carry the check to you.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what would happen if your major transaction mechanism switched from offline checks to some online payment option? But how is THAT going to happen when your major communications vehicle still includes a reply envelope?

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