Editor's Note: Political Fallout?
Here’s a shocker: Fundraising is tough. Joan Specter, who’s part of the development team at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, spent quite a bit of time driving that point home to me during a conversation I had with her recently.
She was talking about her work with the center, where she focuses on securing major gifts, and explaining how much patience, tact and tenacity it takes to get someone to part with, oh, say, a million bucks.
As she spoke, I was struck with this thought: This woman was a member of Philadelphia City Council for 16 years. If she says something is tough, it’s tough.
(Philadelphia City Council debates used to get so heated that it wasn’t unheard of for a session to deteriorate into an afternoon of foul language and fisticuffs.)
And direct mail fundraising is about to get even tougher. Creative Direct Response’s Geoff Peters, who spoke at the DMAW 2004 Conference & Expo in D.C. in May, says President Bush and wanna-be John Kerry will flood American mail boxes with a combined 40 million pieces of direct mail each month between now and the election.
Uber-conservative copywriter Richard Viguerie and his affectionately competitive liberal nemesis, Hal Malchow, addressed the current DM climate in a Leaders Forum at the DMAW event. In between trading barbs with and poking fun at Malchow — these guys are bona fide members of the Mutual Admiration Society — Viguerie likened the onslaught to “a Mack truck coming down the road” and predicted “a political mailing unlike anything anyone has seen before.”
No matter how politically aware the American public is, John and Jane Q. Donor most likely are going to get tired of slogging through it all. Or the political stuff will get citizens so fired up that they forget about other issues — namely the ones you’re trying to cue them in to with your organization’s lovely DM packages.