Friday, March 21, 2014

BIG’s Blog: My Mother the Car

On a Tuesday evening in 1966, the American television viewing public had a choice in the first hour of primetime programming: the WWII action drama Combat, Rawhide (featuring a very young Clint Eastwood), and the Jerry Van Dyke/Ann Southern comedy, My Mother the Car.

That was it!

Three network executives dictated this extremely limited menu of options. . . one from ABC, NBC, and CBS. These three men divined the taste of 200 million Americans. By the way, My Mother the Car is often listed as either the first or second worst television show of all time.

Compared to what we are used to today, it is almost hard to imagine such a limited offering. Of course, back then, we thought it was normal … and it was … back then.

Today, we still have the three networks I mentioned, but now Fox and public television are new players, plus all kinds of cable networks . . . and now online streaming offerings like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, FunnyorDie, DailyMotion, and Crackle have been added to the list.

And yet … most fundraising organizations today still share their stories primarily through printed direct mail and newsletters. Of course, all nonprofits have Websites, and more and more are using e-blasts and posting on social media. . . and for significant potential donors, some fundraising organizations send out a Major Gift Officer to tell their story.

But think about it from today’s “potential” donor perspective. Most of us look at the envelope of a nonprofit’s direct mail appeal, and if we’re interested, we Google the organization and go to their Website. And for a first time visitor, I would bet your Website gives a good amount of information. But when I come back a few days or a week later, has anything on the Website changed? Pretty static huh?

My mom still reads your newsletters and your direct mail, but my wife doesn’t. And if you send me an email asking for another donation … assuming I sent you one before … I’m probably going to delete it. Sorry.

Honestly, do you respond any differently than me? Sure, you’ve still got my mom as a donor, but she was acquired years ago. I am your present and my kids are your future. How are you doing acquiring baby boomer, GenX and Millennial supporters?

We are long since past that Tuesday evening in 1966. Today’s supporters of nonprofit organizations expect more from you. And the truth is, I know you want to give them what they want.

Over the weekend, go to Amazon and search for the book Difference by Bernadette Jiwa. It’s only $3.99 in the Kindle version. READ IT.

Then drop me an email next week (it’s a quick read) and let me know what you think.

I know you really do want to make a “difference.”

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