Yabba, Dabba … Don’t?
What if, while riding the Metro, between shuffling songs on her iPod and reading the free daily, a young college student spots an ad encouraging the fight against global warming. This girl, an activist at heart, would like to donate, but the truth is that she can barely afford her school books. But then she reads that she can text in her $1 donation, which will be added to her next cell phone statement. Which works out perfectly, since her parents pay that bill anyway.
What if, while cheering on his favorite football team, a 30-something urban professional is exposed to bright banner ads inside the stadium for an organization committed to helping war-torn American soldiers regain their strength through athletic activities? For the length of play he could think about how important his impact would be on these soldiers who have protected his freedom, essentially allowing him to attend such wholesome, patriotic festivities. Then, while ordering onion rings and other game-day goodies, he could select from the menu a donation that would go directly to this organization, helping him feel good about himself despite his team’s devastating loss.
Where to go from here
OK, so you’re probably thinking that these fancy ideas are good in theory but they’ll mostly likely bomb. Maybe you’re right. These attempts will not declare direct mail dead, and they won’t change the face of fundraising. Yet.
These ideas simply exist as examples of how advertising — depending on its placement — can use technology and innovative techniques to cultivate donors. Because, relative to the technology that’s available and permeates every aspect of our lives, fundraising no longer is about reaching donors where they live, but rather where they’re going, places where they feel good and, more importantly, feel giving. It’s about engagement and interaction. It’s about the ease of it all. It’s about making people feel a part of an experience — one that you can’t get from licking an envelope.