publication date: Jul 3, 2012
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
When someone asks me to describe the first 12 months after setting up flat earth direct
, I tell them it's been 365 days of learning
. At this one-year mark, I thought it
would be a good chance to stop and reflect on what I've learned and been
reminded of through my work with clients.
These trends really slapped me in the face. I may not have seen them coming,
but I'm certainly excited to have seen their impact.
- Losing lots of donors recruited via
face-to-face doesn't have to happen. Properly executed digital retention programs
work to retain the majority of them. Think mobile: typical F2F-recruited donors
are in their 20s or early 30s, and very active on smartphones.
- Digital recruitment doesn't
charities can do it too.
- The key to digital (recruitment) success
is a "sticky" proposition. Make it memorable, make it compelling.
- The value of "no." Sometimes the offer to do something
is more important than whether someone actually does it. (Hint: teleconferences
- Facebook isn't a waste of time when
it comes to recruitment. The keys are good content and advertising. (Hint: It's great for event
- Video really works. It's a brilliant way to tell stories
(Hint: see first point about F2F). You're better off doing old-school tactics
well than trying to do digital poorly.
- Technology should only be used to
solve problems. Any
other reason (it's cool, fun, worth a try, cheaper, easier) is a distraction.
These are lessons that have been re-affirmed. Rather than being slapped
in the face, they've just given me a nice, gentle shake of the shoulders to
wake me up and remind me.
- Everything is different but
everything is the same. If it works in one country, it will likely work in another.
- Direct marketing and direct mail aren't
direct mail appeals for support will still work. Nothing good arrives in the mail
any more - except, perhaps, your warm, personal, compelling letter.
- Incentives and premiums still play a
role in fundraising.
- Regular (monthly) giving is important. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit
in your database.
- The old-fashioned direct marketing
and donor care principles apply in the new world. They just need a little tweaking.
- Don't overcomplicate. Simplicity and focus are critical.
- Tepid is better than cold. Start with those you know instead of those you'd like to know.
- The world really is flat. Work with people, partners,
suppliers that get you great results. Don't work with someone just because
their office is around the corner.
- The early adopters invariably win. You don't always have to be second.
Those with the best results are typically those who know when to be disciplined
and when to be different and new.
I'm sure there's more. And I hope there's even more in the next 365
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat
earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good
causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world
focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.
If you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can email him, follow him on Twitter @jonathongrapsas or
check out www.flatearthdirect.com