Word-of-Mouth Advertising Really Does Work
These days, when I attend an Indiana Chapter of AFP luncheon, I find that many of the attendees have between zero and seven years of service. I have learned that the speaker drives the attendance figure. I was excited to attend a recent Indiana AFP lunch that featured a panel discussion. The panel included three veterans who were well-known community leaders and board members who have been a part of many organizations and capital campaigns. More than 140 people attended this outstanding and informative lunch. Most impressive was the fact that the audience that day was primarily senior-level professionals. It was like old home week, as I saw several people I had not seen in many years even though we live in the same town.
I was so proud of the comments made at the podium. These board members unanimously said that in their careers, the recent $30 million Indianapolis Zoological Society capital campaign that exceeded goal by $4 million was "textbook" in its success. The centerpiece of the campaign was to acquire funding for the creation of an Orangutan Center, and much of the campaign's success was due to word-of-mouth awareness of the project. Having been involved in many capital campaigns through the years, I rarely hear the word "textbook." My hat goes off to Ted Grossnickle, Angela White and Tim Ardillo of the consulting firm Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates and Karen Burns, senior vice president of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, plus the board, staff, volunteers, donors and others who made this "textbook" campaign a word to remember.
Trust me, this word-of-mouth advertising is priceless, and I am proud of the success, which in reality, is success for the entire profession!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.