An old friend of mine, Autumn Porter, sent me a Facebook message last week asking for help reconciling two very different ideas — face-to-face solicitations versus online videos & electronic pledge forms. As I stewed on how to respond to her, it dawned on me that resource development professionals, who have come before me, must have had a similar “moment”. I suspect that this deja vu moment probably occurred at the advent of the direct mail era.
First let me frame Autumn’s dilemma. On one hand, she was told that she needs to get out there, roll up her sleeves, infiltrate professional networks, schedule in-person workplace solicitation meetings, and ask … ask … ask. On the other hand, she has been told by a local employer that they are an “electronic workplace” and really think it would be better to ask their employees to view an online video over the company’s internal network and be given the opportunity to complete an electronic pledge form. Here is Autumn’s question:
“How do I begin to merge these two tangents into some sort of donor-centric approach? Are there examples of using social media to tie us directly to their heartstrings? Can we create a lasting connection of the human experience without being in the same square-footage? If people give to people, how do we continue to reach the people with the capacity to give?”
As I said earlier, “deja vu” all over again! With that being said, I suspect that those fundraising professionals who addressed similar questions during the rise of direct mail would probably stand here today with the same advice … “Know Thy Donor” and solicit them in the manner that they would like to be solicited. I also firmly believe that resource development professionals know that face-to-face solicitation is the most effective, efficient and respectful way to solicit. As such, good RD professionals know that there is a threshold when direct mail, email, social media and telephone calls are not respectful and in those circumstances they reach into their solicitation toolkit and use the most appropriate tool.
So, my best advice to Autumn can be summed up by this YouTube video highlighting a psychic, cosmic conversation between Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi.
All kidding aside, I plan on using the remainder of this week’s blog posts to talk about ePhilanthropy and social media. In the meantime, I am interested in how you would answer Autumn’s questions. Please use the comment box below to weigh-in with your best world-class advice.
Here is to your health!Erik Anderson Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC firstname.lastname@example.org http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847 http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847 http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847