- Mon, December 18 2006
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
When it comes to marketing, bulls*@t has seen better days. The evidence is coming in fast and furious that a new emphasis on authenticity is coming to dominate the public landscape — from reality shows to Youtube to anti-brands.
In the fundraising realm, declining donor loyalty may be a sign of revolt against much of the technique-driven garbage that is sent out in the name of small-dollar fundraising.
There is nothing about the Internet that makes communications inherently more authentic than TV or direct mail. There is no shortage of bullshit online. But the Internet does offer new opportunities to humanize fundraising in a genuine way.
Following is an excerpt to the first chapter to the whitepaper Sea Change just released, ostensibly on year-end fundraising. But what it’s really about — what Sea Change hopes to become known for — is changing the conversation with donors for the better.
[And by the way, authentic doesn’t mean boring, just as bulls@#t doesn’t necessarily mean fun.]
From “A Procrastinator’s Guide to Year-End Fundraising”—four ways to build donor passion
• Tell your organization’s founding story once a year. Communications guru Andy Goodman calls this one of the “sacred bundle” of stories – a profound reminder of the deep values and moral struggle that gave rise to your organization’s existence.
• Have a genuine cultivation strategy and calendar. Send emails to donors that thank them, that report back on how you’ve spent their money, and then offer an inspiring anecdote or factoid. You can’t thank donors enough, and chances are, you don’t. Make it a point not to ask for donations in these communications.
• Ask your donors for their feedback and opinions on a regular basis. Remind them that you know there are people behind those email addresses.
• Offer periodic live chats or phone-in briefings with your CEO. This is a staple of major donor fundraising, inexplicably absent from the online giving scene.
• Offer real-life glimpses into the life of your organization. We are entering an era when authenticity is arguably the paramount value in marketing communications – a potentially massive shift from the fakey-fake formula that still guides most direct mail. One recent example: a brief, affecting and heart-felt thank you video by Amnesty International staff.