Organized Chaos!

Jan 05, 2022

Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, Weight Loss Commercials, Publisher's Clearinghouse, the Super Bowl, and then Valentine's Day. There's always something on the horizon. The treadmill of life never stops. And if you're not careful, as the Chaos Coordinator, that treadmill can exhaust you without the scenery ever changing. It's a choice. You can control the chaos or let the chaos controls you. Choose intentionally. 

This week's rundown:

  • Left Brain Marketing Methods:  Learn two ways that stewarding your donors starts with being a good steward yourself.
  • Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  Sugar and salt look the same--just like the mail in your donor's mailbox/inbox. But you can stand out from the pack if you implement a coordinated communication strategy. Learn some tips on how to do that in today's blog. 

Let’s do this!

Left Brain Marketing Methods: The best thing about a new year is that it feels like a clean slate. You get a fresh start. A do-over. It's like life's etch-a-sketch. One good shake and you can begin again. But that also might be the worst thing about a new year. As amazing as the possibilities are that await, it's like staring at a blank screen and not having any idea what to write. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It can be overwhelming.

The good news is that planning your work with some left brain marketing methods, really can help coordinate the chaos that an overwhelming new year can bring.

There are two basic organizational methods that I've used that have really helped make my marketing life easier and I hope you'll adopt them yourself.

  • Conduct a supply inventory. I know, I know, it's so basic--but hear me out. Sure, an inventory is good to do when you're prepping for your budget and need to allot the necessary amount to your supply line item. But it's also an excellent way to be a good steward of the resources you have.

    For example, if you learn that you have 500 manila envelopes, then figuring out how to use those in a direct mail piece is a good use of your resources. Perhaps you discover that you have an embosser that stamps your logo, but you haven't been using it--bingo--now you know!  Maybe you have folders or postcards or thousands of business cards that haven't seen the light of day. See what I mean? Once you know what you have you can put some thought into using them intentionally this year--without spending any of your marketing budget. 
  • Similar to this supply inventory, I'd also do a marketing audit as well. Do you know what marketing pieces you have? What you've used in the past that can be recycled to a different donor segment, with a different focus, or in a different way? You'll discover that you have 850 brochures about Giving Through Insurance, 150 Ways to Give flyers, or 1000 Give Where You Live window clings--don't waste them, leverage your resources! It's the marketing equivalent of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle!

    Chances are you're either slightly unorganized or you never thought about accounting for your supplies or marketing materials in a way that could be used immediately. Now's the time--Carpe diem!

Right Brain Marketing Moxie: Now that you're doing your part to save money by intentionally being a good steward of what you already have, you can focus on raising money by intentionally stewarding the donors that you already have--just add a splash of right brain marketing moxie.

For some reason, we have no problem incorporating major holidays into our donor communications, but you need to be relevant even with it's not that time of year--and you can do that in a coordinated way.

Themes aren't just good for holidays! You can actually raise a lot more money by incorporating themes into your donor marketing because even if they don't know or understand you or your mission yet--everyone can relate to a good theme.

An easy theme is incorporating gratitude into January or February with a Thank-you-ary theme. After all, you just received a ton of year-end gifts, show them that they're appreciated. It's ok to make stuff up--creators do this all.the.time!

 As the CEO of a Community Foundation, we promote endowed giving all the time. But endowed giving isn't a nonprofit norm. So, not all donors understand how it's different than the donations they've made to other charities. Themes are amazing when trying to explain something complex, like endowment, in simple terms. 

That's why I loved this video one of my teammates found on Reddit that speaks about juice vs. sauce in a way that explains pass-through giving vs. endowed giving in the most basic 30-seconds I've ever witnessed--better than any elevator speech I've ever heard on the topic!
When you can give people something simple that they already understand and compare it to what you do, they get it, time and time again. And not only do they get it, they understand it in a way that has a network effect when they tell others, too.

That's why themes, similes, and metaphors are excellent ways to tell your story because you can compare something they're already familiar with to something you do. Ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom, they get it and they get you!

We do this with our Annual Report each year. We choose a theme and we go with it full tilt. Sure, we could just do a report where we explain what endowment is in the same way we have for decades, but the message could get old, stale, or looked over entirely--they've already read that before, right? We need to them to read what we're doing now, not assume they've already read that same message previously.

Describing endowment as philanthropic dopamine, our secret sauce (or barbecue sauce), or like an ampersand still tells them what endowment is, but by way of something they already understand--so the message resonates even deeper. Plus, it's just more fun to read! Just remember, you don't have to be extreme, just be consistent--oddly enough, this nugget also works for New Year's Resolutions.

Perhaps you're not prepared to adopt a full year's theme--and that's ok. But you can take a test drive. Start small with a seasonal approach like this example we used one snow-filled year in Indiana when we took advantage of an American Gothic picture that was sent to a donor-directed list of loyal donors.

You know you have a mission worth fighting for, right? Others need to know this, too! But you have to get them to open your mail. It's a lot easier to be the Chaos Coordinator when you have donations coming in that are helping you help others.

Give it a try and let me know how it's working for you!

All My Best,

dawn ❄
[email protected]

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

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