We fundraisers all have our ‘Duh!’ moments, often when we realize we’ve violated some cardinal rule of practice.

Many Agitator readers responded ‘DUH!’ to my post yesterday, asking whether anyone knew, based on empirical evidence, whether thanking donors actually increased their subsequent giving.

Don’t worry … I’ll return to that subject next week!

But here’s a great list of ‘Duh!’ principles of direct marketing from copywriter Dean Rieck via DirectMarketingIQ. I think they apply to our specialty, fundraising. Dean explains what he means in each case. The comments here are my spin.

1. Sell good products. Not every fundraiser sits at the table where the ‘product’ is created or shaped. That’s a shame. Marketing begins and ends with the product.

2. Sell things people want. Ditto above.

3. Sell to buyers and ignore the rest. Here, he’s talking about targeting and knowing your audience.

4. Make sure you’re doing direct marketing. Duh! Need an offer, info enabling immediate acceptance, a mechanism for responding.

5. Make an irresistible offer. Nonprofits don’t have as much scope for the ‘Money back guarantee’ type sweetener. But maybe … Have you ever thought of saying something like: “If our efforts ever disappoint you in any way, let us know and we’ll return you donation.” Then there’s Charity:Water’s compelling offer: 100% of your donation goes directly into drilling wells; none of it goes to overhead … unfortunately, an offer not all nonprofits can make.

6. Don’t become married to one media. Most fundraisers have at least sorted out roles for mail, online, telephone and events.

7. Make sure you’re making sense. Always remember, you are not the donor. Does everything in #4 above make sense to a real person?

8. Don’t change your strategy without proof. All decisions should be based on the mathematics of response and net profit.

Any “Duhs” you’d like to add to the list?



This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Direct mail, Fundraising analytics / data, Nonprofit management.
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