In the Trenches: Nine Successful Habits of Direct-Response Fundraisers
Now files arrive during the night to an ftp site, ready to become part of a campaign the next day. With a few mouse clicks, poorly trained, well-meaning employees can create and send a file faster than the old mainframer could pour his coffee and even think about starting a job. Write routines for all standard jobs, and triple-check the specifications for all special data pulls before they’re transmitted.
7. Never make changes at the proof stage. Here again, technology advancements that promise to save us time sometimes cost everyone time and patience. Not so many years ago, artists and writers collaborated to develop a loose “comp” that would be approved or rejected by a client before any more work was done. Changing some words or a typeface and moving a few photos meant starting over. But at least progress was being made.
Now I often see the final decision-maker waiting to review a creative project moments before the presses roll or an e-mail blast is scheduled. Technology allows us to deal with the inevitable emergencies that come our way — but we shouldn’t be in permanent emergency mode. Stick to deadlines, review concepts early on, and approve great work as early as practically possible.
8. Return calls promptly. Many of the good habits I mentioned earlier involve clear communication. Sometimes, though, I’d welcome any communication. Gone are the days of sorting through the little pink “While You Were Out” slips. But at least those slips allowed busy managers to prioritize who they’d deal with next. E-mails, voice mails and text messages fall on you like hail in a thunderstorm. None of this can be used as an excuse. Folks downstream in the project chain need to hear from you before your boss does. Ignoring them is not a form of control; it’s a sign you’re out of control. Pay close attention to the people who serve you.