Yesterday, Roger summarized a rant on donor ‘conversion’ by our colleague Kevin Schulman.

Just to establish that dissent is alive and well within The Agitator ranks, I’m here to tell you that Kevin’s rant was nothing more than a triumph of obscurantism. Kevin (and Roger), were you trying to play with our heads?

Now, if Kevin was deliberately setting out to confuse us, with some sort of semantic gymnastics, he certainly succeeded in my case.

On the one hand, he talks about a number of ‘conversions’ we should not attempt — e.g., event donors to mission donors, premium donors to non-premium donors, disaster donors to mission donors.

You can accept, or not, his arguments against each of these “fool’s errands”.

But then we get a bunch of shaman chant (otherwise known as “marketing speak”) about ‘up-selling’ and ‘cross-selling’ … which Kevin vastly prefers to ‘conversion’.

So all this leaves me wondering …

Should I never have tried to ‘convert’ online petition names into direct mail donors … raising big money in the process? Or is that ‘cross-selling’?

Should I never have tried to ‘convert’ those new direct mail ‘converts’ into monthly givers … again lifting donor value considerably? Or is that up-selling?

Should I never have tried to ‘convert’ those emotional responders to a monstrous handgun tragedy somewhere in America (event) into ‘mission’ givers prepared to support a lobbying group (institution) for the long haul to reform? Or is that ‘line extension’?

Go ahead Kevin, convince me I shouldn’t have been so reckless … ‘convert’ me!

I boil yesterday’s Agitator advice down to this simple takeaway … one man’s ‘cross-selling’ and ‘line extension’ is another man’s ‘conversion’!


P.S. Help me out guys. How do I tell a legitimate ‘conversion’ effort from a reckless fool’s ‘conversion’ effort? I need a checklist.

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