Yabba, Dabba … Don’t?
Every day we see between 1,500 and 3,000 advertisements. That’s upwards of 125 in-your-face fliers, billboards, commercials and print ads per hour — or 2.08 per minute.
Which makes perfect sense considering the average American debt per credit-card carrying household is $8,500 to $14,000, according to Federal Reserve Board of Governors statistical releases and the U.S. Census Bureau. As much as we’d like to think that our decisions to buy, buy, buy are independent choices based on personal preference, price, etc., we’re wrong. Advertisements influence our purchases — nearly all of them — whether we like it or not.
Consider then, the use of adverts in fundraising. If these often-engaging catalysts to consumerism compel us to spend our hard-earned cash on items we don’t necessarily need, why shouldn’t they work as well for nonprofits that use our disposable income for the greater good?
I know what you’re thinking: “You’re trying to reinvent the wheel” or “Nonprofits already use conventional advertising to gain donors.” You’re right; that’s all very true. But you’re also probably thinking that what’s not broken doesn’t need be fixed. That is tragically false.
What’s not broken should be stomped, kicked and spit on — so it can be improved. Like any industry, fundraising must maintain an evolutionary tract, much like the recording community, wherein bulky vinyl albums have evolved into invisible, portable and increasingly more profitable MP3s.
Several examples prove my point: The telephone has, over the years, transformed from a single-purpose rotary device to its current incarnation as a multipurpose, touch-screen transmitter; the television, which once was a blurry, black-and-white tube, now is a high-def wall hanging; and the camera, in its popular digital format, has rendered film an article of antiquity.
Where does all this leave you? With all due respect, in the Stone Age. The ubiquity of our ever-changing technology provides you with unique and uncharted territory to explore, but you dismiss it, waiting for someone else to plant the first flag. Sadly, you’d rather ride on the coattails of prescient pioneers who make headway where, for one unreasonable reason or another, you wouldn’t dare. By engaging in this sort of sit-back-and-slack behavior, you’re playing with fire. And eventually you’ll get burned.