Thursday, January 17, 2008

Neo, Do You Believe?

Was catching up on some blogs that I love to read and finally made my way back to "Don't Tell the Donor" who had a great post called "tick, tick, tick..."

Holly Hall from the Chronicle notes:

In first three quarters of last year, donations made in response to direct-marketing appeals failed to keep pace with inflation, growing by a median of 1.4 percent, meaning that half the groups achieved greater increases and half fared worse. The number of people who made gifts declined by a median 1.4 percent since 2006. Meanwhile, the organizations recruited a median 6.2 percent fewer new donors, on top of a 10-percent decline in new donors for the first three quarters of 2006.
Look, I am NOT saying that direct mail isn't important here - but I am asking you some serious questions, because folks, the writing is on the wall and has been for a few years. How many more postage increases can you handle? How much more tolerance for the price of paper can you swallow? What happens when donors start asking you to stop killing trees because of how much paper you are using?

Here are two good questions to ask yourself:
  1. Is your organization really committed to the online channel? Prove it... do you have an organization structure designed for success? Have you broken silos down? Have you made the INVESTMENT needed to get the RETURN so that ROI isn't just three letters but an actual goal? Have you shifted some budget from direct mail/traditional channels to online? Why not?
  2. Have you really thought through how you are going to replace a big chunk of your direct mail revenues over the next 3-5 years? Have you written a number down and assigned a person to get you there?
I do believe it is Seth Godin who continually re-frames risk - is there a greater risk in not doing something about declining direct mail or greater risk in taking small steps in a formal way to start to figure out a digital strategy?

Red Pill or Blue Pill time (again)...

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