Remember the good ‘ol days of direct mail fundraising, when if you needed names you just went out and rented or exchanged for them by the bucketloads? And if you knew what you were doing, you could get pretty decent ones.

Of course in the online fundraising culture, new rules apply. [How we direct marketers ever let that happen, I don’t know!]

So, we have to build our own e-lists. Permission marketing. What a pain!

Ironically, despite the fact that permission marketing is the rule of the road for online marketing, whereas the direct mail list market is alive and well, donors still report being far more comfortable receiving an un-solicited direct mail pitch than an email solicitation.

According to The Agitator’s latest DonorTrends survey, 15% of donors are very uncomfortable receiving a fundraising request by mail, versus 53% by email. True, the email discomfort drops to 19% if the email comes from "someone you know." But that raises the interesting philosophical question: Do you really know Paul Newman more than ________ (fill in your exec director’s name) in their emailing personas?!

A virtual invasion of privacy is regarded as far more dastardly than a hard copy one, even though both are "deleted" equally easily. With spam filters these days, do you still get more unwanted email than snail mail?

Of course, some of us try to take short cuts and even try trick our prospects into parting with their email addresses. Here’s a humorous take on the matter.

Tom

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