This might turn out to be a rant. But you see, I’m getting a lot of fundraising appeals I can’t read because the type is too small, the paragraphs are too long, and the copy is too intensive and technical.
I’m eligible to critique this mail, not because I’ve been in the business for 42 years but because I’m now the target audience.
Once upon a time, the majority of direct mail fundraising executives were “up in years,” retired from their primary vocation or quasi-volunteers. They understood the target audience because they were the target audience. But today, direct mail fundraising is a career path. I don’t know what the median age is, but when I go to a conference it seems that the attendees are about the age of my grandchildren.
I wonder just how much these new-era executives know about me. They are good at statistics, setting up tests and extrapolating data from test results. They are strong in research. They know how to conduct focus groups. They are savvy, specialized and know how to make things happen.
But I wonder if they really understand me. As a person, not a statistic.
I’m suspicious because, when I was their age I didn’t understand people my age. I knew a lot about demographics and psychographics. But I didn’t really understand the target audience until I became one of the 32 million Americans endorsing a Social Security check.
Don’t you dare call me ‘elderly’
Do you really know me? What do you call me? Mature? Elderly? (If so, a curse on your next appeal.)
“Senior” is okay. And I kind of like that because I’ll be 72 years old this year, and I run four miles a day and play tennis four times a week — and lie like a serial killer about how much I exercise.