So said Kim Cubine, a principal at fundraising firm Adams Hussey, in a recent email to The Agitator. Kim, a veteran direct marketing fundraiser, was taking exception to some observations about online fundraising versus direct mail in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article.

Would you like to vent, we asked? Here is her Guest Agitator post …

Dear Tom & Agitator Editorial Team,

I am surprised not to have seen more attention given to the cover story article featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Clearly their publishers do not read The Agitator.

I cannot be the only person who feels that this article totally misrepresented what is happening in direct marketing today. They did not interview anyone that manages both online and offline for their clients that can discuss how donors are moving between channels to make their contributions. So while direct mail
contributions may be down (we are also in a recession) and online contributions increasing, why didn’t they discuss how the mail prompts many individuals to go their computers, get more info and voila — make a gift.

"Direct mail is on life support," says Michael Hoffman, chief executive of See3, a Chicago consulting firm that specializes in nonprofit fundraising and communications. "Charities that have relied on direct mail to get new donors have to start thinking about what’s next, or they will wake up one day and find that an aggressive start-up has taken their place."

This is an outrageous statement in my opinion. Any marketer worth their salt is always thinking about what’s next. And next is multi-channel marketing.

I did not see any statistics where the first time online donor was cross-referenced with a direct mail prospect list to determine the overlap. It’s not just coincidence that organic giving to an organization’s website spikes when prospecting mail is arriving in homes. I suppose it is the reverse of "clicks-to-bricks".

We also have analysis for an aggressive marketing client that shows that donors do indeed move between channels and that nearly half of first -time online donors make their next gift by mail or by phone.

Some of the campaigns listed in the article are super cool. But most nonprofits don’t have the ability to send mosquito nets, plant a tree in the rain forest, enlist a flight attendant to make a personal pitch to a captive audience (no peanuts for you if you decline).

Most nonprofits have to roll up their sleeves and do their fundraising using the old fashion way – test/analyze/test again!

Thanks for letting me vent.

Kim Cubine

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