You Want the Appeal Out by When?
“The list decisions and execution should happen at the beginning of each campaign,” says John Graham, vice president of Ministry Advancement of In Touch Ministries of Atlanta. “First, because it takes time to clear the list orders and exchanges and, second, because it’s important to make sure the campaign is within budget guidelines.”
My colleagues agree that wasting time can lead to higher costs, poor morale and missed mail dates.
“If you’re planning 10 or 11 house mailings per year, and the client misses deadlines for approving copy on any kind of regular basis, it’s not uncommon for one of the mailings to push back the next,” says Geoff Peters, president of Crofton, Md.-based Creative Direct Response. “If this happens two or three times per year, you find yourself doing fewer mailings that year. That can be 10 percent of planned revenue lost due to missed deadlines.”
From concept to disk
Jack Doyle, president of Peabody, Mass.-based Amergent, has found the greatest opportunity for clients to cut time and expense in the creative-development process.
“Before the first meeting, all parties involved are asked to look for things to bring to the table around a new idea or strategic concept,” he says. “Preparing to actively contribute something at the meeting is key.”
Doyle’s ultimate objective is to keep people on task.
“Once we have agreement on everything that we want the donor or prospect to do, we go through the supporting-story content and photographs for consideration,” he explains. “Prompt attention to details before, during and after the initial creative-development meeting can really save a lot of time.”
Industry author and lecturer Ken Burnett advises fundraisers to prepare a brief in advance of every campaign, which all parties should sign off on before work starts.
“Clients who constantly change the brief should face some sort of penalty, like being charged time and a half, at least,” he adds. “Constantly changing the brief is de-motivating and leads to second-rate work.”