I'm on record defending both phonathon and direct mail as useful vehicles for fundraising. So out of fairness, I thought I owed my readers a post where I asked the question, "When is it time to throw out a medium?"
To figure this out, I first needed to consider a communication technology that is no longer relevant for fundraising marketing. So, please consider for this example, the telegraph.
The telegraph was the first method of instant communication in the world. As such it was tremendously important during its heyday. We now have so many methods of instantaneous communication today that we can't fully appreciate what a marvel it was at the time.
Still today, if we need instant communication, telegraph isn’t our only option. Email, social media, text messages, do the same thing as the telegraph but they do it with significant advantages. For instance, telegrams don’t contain visual content and they require a translator for the Morse code. Technology has far outpaced the telegraph as a medium for public relations, communication and fundraising.
The reason we still use the telephone and direct mail for fundraising is because they still maintain significant advantages over other vehicles, despite the proliferation of those alternate vehicles. As I have stated elsewhere, phone calls are active asking, two-way personalized communication. Yesterday, I laid out exactly what qualities make mailings still relevant.
It’s important that we are continue to be critical of each media we use for our message. We must be good stewards of the budgetary resources we are entrusted with. However, the fact remains that the more valid vehicles we use to ask for money, the more money we will raise overall.
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Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.