Make Sure You Know Your Audiences Present AND Future: Scared Stiff at Fundraising Day in NY

Make Sure You Know Your Audiences Present AND Future Scared Stiff at Fundraising Day in NYGet this. When I asked a direct mail expert speaking at Fundraising Day in New York how she integrated her offline and online communications and fundraising efforts, she answered “we don’t.”

Here’s her reasoning (I’ll protect her organizational anonymity): Our donors are over 50, and they are our sole focus. They are not online[wrong], so we don’t reach out to them that way. Once in a long while we complement a direct mail campaign with an email check in, but have very few emails for this target group.[mistake]

I countered with a question on how they’re getting to know and understand folks from 20 to 50; individuals who will become 50 at some point (we all hope to get there and beyond, after all) and  who are likely to be some new communications tools that the org should be tracking.

Here’s the response I received: There’s an online team in our organization who’s handling that [building awareness and engagement]; but we operate quite independently.

A self-confessed head-in-the-sand fundraiser, not even listening to what her colleagues are learning about the folks who will very soon be among her targets. Aaagh! People who wear blinders make me crazy. They just keep themselves, and their organizations, in exactly the same place.

I advise you to be tracking all of your audiences; those you’re targeting today, and those who are likely to be there next year, or in ten years. That’s the only way to:

  • ID and become fluent in new communications tools critical to your reaching your communications goals.
  • Understand the mindset and values of coming generations, and how to shepherd “to comes” to your organization (building the next generation of your org’s supporters).

Here’s a great mini-guide for tracking where your base-to-be is today, and getting to know them, by Gen-Yer Sam Davidson:
Four Things Non-Profits (and Everyone Else) Should Know About Communicating with Gen Y

How does your nonprofit track its base-to-be? Please share your strategies via the Comment link below.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 2, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Strategy, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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