I’m Ticked Off!
Digging further into the article — after the charities are made to look inefficient — there are recommendations about how to "stop" this kind of bad marketing and decision making. Now, we should always be looking for ways to keep our donors more informed as to how we are using donor dollars, but the recommendations in this article, in my opinion, are not focused on the right metric for educating donors. If we had to communicate the details of each and every campaign, we would have to then make sure all of our donors understand what it takes to do fundraising — the financial differences between marketing to current donors versus marketing to generate a new donor. Not to mention, that just seems like a lot of time spent in the wrong direction.
So, I decided I should make sure I wasn't just irritated and applying my opinion incorrectly. I had two unique opportunities in the last week to ask for some other opinions.
First, I called Dirk Rinker, president of Campbell Rinker. The good folks over at Campbell Rinker have been providing marketing research to nonprofits for more than 20 years. I gave Dirk some perspective on my issue and asked him, flat out, is this really what our donors want? Do they want to get into the minutia of campaign-specific details? Dirk's opinion was pretty thorough and backed up by some facts:
- Today's donors want more transparency, but they want information that is relevant and can help them make a decision about the brand overall — not about the campaign.
- Members of the younger generation (25 to 35) do require more information than the older generations, but as they age, and have more life and business experiences, they will even adjust their need for detail and start to measure on broader metrics.
- Organizations should consider compartmentalizing information for younger donors, but if they used a broad-scale approach to communicating greater details they would be over-informing a lot of donors who don't want that information.
- Finally, in a recent market research study, only 30 percent of new donors actually looked for financial efficiency metrics before making their first donations. Oh, and by the way, 80 percent of those found what they needed (pie charts, annual reports, etc.) to make the decision.
After my call with Dirk, I actually felt a bit more ticked off about the article. But, the "younger generation" issue still concerned me and made me wonder if I was really missing something. As it turns out, I ended up at an impromptu dinner party this past weekend with four members of the younger generation. They ranged in age from 25 to 32 and were in law school. I was a bit nervous to ask my questions. They are soon-to-be lawyers, and they might have really given me a run for my money. We talked about the Tide example, and then I told them about the article I had read and my conversation with Dirk. The general consensus?
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.