Five Reasons Not to Panic
Recession is looming. Direct mail is dying. E-mail has fallen short of its bright promise. Donors are cynical. Contributions are drying up faster than the ice caps are melting. It seems like everywhere you turn these days, prophets of doom are predicting dark times ahead for fundraising.
If you’re not careful, you might almost start to believe that things aren’t going so well.
Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath. Yes, there is cause for concern. But there also are plenty of good reasons to hold on to your seat and ride out the storm. Here are five truths to help you keep your perspective, stay active, remain focused and even feel hopeful.
1. We’ve heard this story before.
Change is inevitable. So, apparently, is the doomsday prophesying that always seems to accompany it. Radio, it was once darkly predicted, was going to stop people from going to the movies. Television, said others, would be the death of radio.
Only a few years ago, people said the low cost of e-mail would put the final kibosh on direct mail. Others said TiVo would be the death of DRTV.
But in every case, the new technologies turn out — just like the old technologies — to each have their shares of strengths and weaknesses. And ultimately they find their places as valuable parts of an increasingly diverse fundraising process.
Today, for example, study after study is showing that direct mail still is a vital part of the fundraising mix. Those who thought e-mail was the new shining city on the hill are finding that direct-mail donors continue to respond and renew at higher rates.
Maybe more importantly, direct-mail donors are more likely to be “institutional supporters,” i.e., they’re more likely to support your cause and mission, rather than a single issue.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.