So when I spotted this 66-page ad supplement in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago (the weekend following the first bailout and the fall of the Dow below 9,000), I was appalled.
First of all, when I scanned the title (Watch Your Time: Special Watch Portfolio) I assumed it was about the market, and the need to watch it carefully. That just shows you how life shapes interpretation.
But then to open the supplement and see 66 pages of watches for sale at $30,000 and up just made me vomit. Even though I know that this was scheduled months ago and that the ad revenues help get me my paper at a reasonable price, I was jangled.
Make sure you don't make the same mistake. Stay in sync with your organization's supporters so you don't alienate them. If they start to think that you have little sense of who they are, or that they don't really know your organization, you're in trouble. That kind of discomfort breeds distance and disconnects.
Of course, the only way to stay in sync with your supporters and their burning concerns is ongoing audience research. Anecdotal conversations work fine if that's what you can do, as long as critical findings get to your colleagues who need to hear them.
P.S. Learn how to craft the marketing message that matters most — your tagline. Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don't dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!