Mr. Irrelevant

Jan 18, 2023

Today I was chatting with a couple of friends at lunch who were both surprised that I know who/what Mr. Irrelevant was. Mr. Irrelevant for the 2022-23 NFL season is Brock Purdy. Now, for all of you out there that aren’t uber-sporty (like me), the prestigious title of Mr. Irrelevant is bequeathed upon the very last player picked in the NFL draft each year.

But you might not know that after each draft the new Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to spend a week during the summer in Newport Beach. They also get a trip to Disneyland and, hilariously, are the guest of honor at a roast where they are awarded the Lowsman Trophy--which mimics the Heisman Trophy, only with a fumbling football player! Apparently, the NFL's got jokes!  

Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy appreciative of Newport Beach welcome at ...

But all this talk about being irrelevant got me to thinking. Is it really irrelevant to be the last one picked? Seems like the very last one picked in the draft would be knighted Mr. Lucky or Mr. Getting-a-fat-paycheck. Maybe even Mr. ThankGoodness, but not Mr. Irrelevant. That title should be saved for the first one not picked, right? Clearly, they didn't ask me!

So, the question begs to be asked, “Who will be Mr. Irrelevant when it comes to the first charity not picked by a donor?” That one is actually an easy one to answer—in both a left brain and right brain way.

Left Brain Marketing Method:  They say that moment when you’re getting sick of hearing your message over and over again is exactly the time when your audience hears it for the first time. Top of mind matters and so does consistency. Luckily, thanks to the left brain, you can make a plan for this.

Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  Just as bad as radio silent—when you go dormant from your donors and quit communicating for a period of time—is when your donors go radio silent. Maybe you are mailing to them frequently, but it’s so boring or tired that they quit reading a long time ago. Whether you’re not mailing to them or they’re not opening your mail, you get the same outcome—irrelevance! It’s not too late to fix that!

You belong in the nonprofit hall of fame, so let's do this!
Hall Of Fame Png - Hall Of Fame Text Clipart, Cliparts & Cartoons -

Left Brain Marketing Methods:  The nonprofit version of Mr. Irrelevant is always the one who doesn’t keep in contact frequently with their donors. When your donors forget about you, you’re irrelevant. You can’t let that happen. You have to stay on their radar. In sports, they stay on the public radar in the form of statistics.

Statistics are how we know that Brock Purdy, as Mr. Irrelevant, was suddenly becoming just the opposite. There was now headlining proof that Purdy was the first Mr. Irrelevant to complete a forward pass in a regular season game. We also know he was the first Mr. Irrelevant to ever throw a touchdown pass in a regular season game and the only quarterback to beat Tom Brady in his first career start. The list doesn’t stop there, but you get the idea. This guy is keeping his name in the news and in the conversations around the proverbial water cooler. People are talking about him because he keeps showing up. That’s what you have to do!

San Francisco 49Ers Football GIF by NFL

I’ve been writing like the wind these past three months for a handful of clients that practice the concept of showing up consistently for their donors. Their desire is to keep in continual contact, so their vital mission remains top of mind. Let’s give ‘em something to talk about, right? The minute you quit communicating, they quick talking about you. It’s like the stats of a benched player—non-existent. Don't bench yourself!

So, get your left brain calendar out if you haven’t already. Just because we’re halfway through January doesn’t mean it’s too late—it’s never too late to create and execute your plan.

There's still time. It's when you communicate so seldom that your donors forget about you and start donating to other organizations that you truly become Mr. Irrelevant.

Don't you Forget about me - Don't you Forget About Me | Meme Generator

 Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  What’s worse than not communicating with your donors to the degree that they forget about you? Actually, spending time and money to communicate with them and having those appeals go unopened and unread. That's the worst! 

If you think about it, writing boring copy that leaves your donors uninspired and unwilling to take action is actually worse than not communicating at all. Why? Think about it. You’re spending time writing copy and making copies followed by sorting and stuffing and licking envelopes. You’re spending money on letterhead and envelopes and stamps. It’s a lot of time and money to get meager results.

What a shame to do all that work for nothing. Maybe your mail is going directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin. Maybe they are reading, but beginning to think your mission is as dull as your appeal letter. If you are communicating frequently and the results are not worth writing home about, then you have to switch something up. But what that something will be is really up to you.

I hope you’re following along with the Frideas—Friday Ideas—I’ve been sharing on my website. While you might not want to replicate those ideas exactly—although you’re welcome to do so—you can get inspiration from them. All the ideas posted have elicited positive results, so take heed. 

Perhaps you start with making the envelope more inviting—get their attention and they’ll open it!  Maybe you actually write less! Get rid of that wall of words and use a picture or two to help tell your stories. Or you can use a theme like we do--even if you do tell them what endowment is AGAIN, telling it through the lens of a metaphor makes it more interesting while also seemingly new.

Or you can make your asks clearer and more concise—they don’t all have to be about donating money. Maybe you need them to complete a survey or volunteer or follow you on social media. Just make sure the ask fits the donor.

San Francisco 49Ers Football GIF by NFL

After all, if a non-sportsy charitable chick like me knows about Mr. Irrelevant, it means that newsworthy stories about the likes of Brock Purdy even hit my newsfeed—and I read them! It’s an appealing story, one that’s inspiring and hopeful and heartwarming. Guess what? Your stories are, too. If you use a few appealing techniques to get your donors to open your mail once again, you might find that they’ll donate again.

In the end, even Mr. Irrelevant became relevant this season. My husband calls him a 'future-hall-of-fame-face'. You can, too. It’s not too late to look at your stats, call an audible, and put some points on the board. The bottom line is this:  If what you’re doing isn’t producing the results that you want, you’ve gotta change something. You don't have to change all the things, but you have to change something! Otherwise, you’ll be the nonprofit version of Mr. Irrelevant—and your mission is too important to get the Lowsman Trophy.

  All My Best,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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