Friday, March 23, 2012

Imaginative and Courageous Communications

Recently at the 2nd annual ADRP NYC conference, I was fortunate enough to present the keynote address. In it, I challenged my peers and colleagues to dare to be different, to innovate beyond their current status quo, and to take calculated risks, especially with their donor communications.

Now, I present the same challenge to you, my ever faithful readership, which has now blossomed to over 4000 professionals weekly and climbing! What have you done lately to let your donors know they matter? How have you changed the way you communicate? If you haven't maybe you should....

You see all we have to do is to write brilliantly, package it superbly, and to present it in a way that will captivate, thrill and inspire.

No short order, right? Well since pictures are worth a thousand words and this Friday I seem to be short on words, I will let you know what I mean visually.

We must NOT:

Check out the title of the attachment-- Emily Post would have had a stroke!
This is an example of an organization, in this case Northwestern University, failing to understand not only proper manners and the technological savvy of their donors, or in this case non donors, but it also represents an internal dialogue about how they speak and communicate. Do you think they will ever regain those people's trust?? I think it's more of an uphill battle than they could ever recognize. What it boils down to though is carelessness. In this age of get it done now, faster, more, NOW! No one remembered that people are receiving these communications!! Good grief! It's a slap your head moment reminiscent of the failed Komen communications following their missteps.

Now, onto a positive example: this one came to me via my monthly Elle magazine. When I saw it during my morning commute, I wanted to show it to everyone on my train! But this being NYC and all, I just kept it to myself (never make eye contact on the subway). I digress.

This is not an endorsement of the Girl Scouts, this is an all out fanfare an bravo to this piece of communication! Not only is this ad striking, it is one of the best examples of donor stewardship impact I have seen in a while! The cookies are yummy looking and addictive, true, but it is the stories behind them that truly empower. Sure, I just ate 3000 calories an am now hiding the boxes because they're evidence but little Julie just earned a new badge! It's simplicity is its power. No small print, no elongated fact sheet, just simple, attractive and powerful communication.
How can you tell your story?

I now have this piece on my inspiration board as something to aspire to. What do you inspire to?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!



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