Fundraising deadlines have become risky; here’s what to do about it

Here’s a cautionary tale from Denny Hatch’s Marketing Blog: The ACLU’s Big Fat Bomb.

He’s writing about this large (9×12) garish (bright green) pack from the ACLU. Maybe you’ve seen it before:

Acluhatch

It has shown up in my mailbox several times over the last few years. In fact, I blogged about it back in 2018: Wacky envelopes work in fundraising.

Something went terribly wrong with this particular mailing.

It prominently and repeatedly featured a deadline for response: January 30, 2021.

Hatch received it on March 20, 2021.

Oof.

As Denny said:

No one in his or her right mind would send money nine weeks after the drop dead cut-off date.

In my experience, mail that arrives after a stated deadline can really crash. (If anyone with inside knowledge is willing to share how this mailing did, I’m all ears!)

Chances are, the mailing went out in what had always before been plenty of time for the deadline.

But something has happened to the US Postal Service. Mail delivery has dramatically slowed, at least in some areas.

So while deadlines are good in fundraising, deadlines with dates have become risky. Here are some ways to avoid the trouble:

  • Replace dates with relative deadlines like, Please respond within the next 10 days.
  • Create urgency factors that are not only time-based, like Please donate before the bulldozers start destroying the forest.
  • Use scarcity as your urgency factor: Your gift will be doubled by matching funds until we’ve raised a total of $50,000.

Postal shenanigans have done enough damage. Don’t let them discourage your donors from giving.


Comments

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

Recent Comments

About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog