Nov 02, 2022

I probably drive-thru McDonalds at least once a week before work to get a large cup of coffee.  For a fast-food place, they really do have good java.  But every time I’m at the window retrieving my coffee from the McDonald’s crew member, I hesitate.  I know it’s silly, but I always think I should tell said crew member thanks…on behalf of my team, my donors, my family.  Thanks for caffeinating me.  She’s no lifeguard.  She may not even be able to able to swim.  But she could be saving a life.  Where sleep fails, caffeine prevails.  And a caffeinated Dawn is a happy Dawn.

So, why don’t I do it?  Why don’t I just say, “You have no idea how important your job is!  You may not know it, but that steaming cup of energy you just poured will positively impact me and all the lives I touch today, too.”  Yet, I’ve never done it.  But, that train stops now, it’s officially YESvember. 

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It’s just simple word play, right?  Or is it?  It just seems rather sad that a month devoted to Thanksgiving starts with the negative NO.  Sure, it made sense when the Roman calendar was used and ‘novem’ meant 9, as in the ninth month of the Roman year.  But, once the Gregorian calendar was adopted and November became the 11th month, the origin became meaningless.  Literally, more than 400 years later and we just accepted the name without question.  Alas, no more.  Our month of thanksgiving deserves, nay demands, a name much more fitting of such a positive, hopeful, blessing-filled month.  Therefore, I hereby declare the 11th month of the Gregorian year to be YESvember. 

Don’t leave me out here celebrating alone.  Join in the fun.  It’s easy.  There are both left brain and right brain reasons to says YES!

Left Brain Marketing Methods:  Say YES to dedicating some time in November to outlining a plan for your donor communications in 2023.

Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  Say YES to being more creative with your deliverables next year than you were last year.

It’s YESvember, friend! Let’s do this!

Jason Sudeikis Yes GIF by Apple TV+

Left Brain Marketing Methods:  Hundreds and hundreds of people read this blog. So, I know there are multiple methods out there for determining how to market or steward your donors. No matter your left brain method, what I do hope is that you’ll spend some time in YESvember making some data-driven, stampworthy decisions.

Whether you’re fully ready to segment your donors or not doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be pulling reports from your database annually and studying them.  You know the donor hymnal from which I sing—Affinity and Capacity! 

So, in YESvember, I’d like to challenge you to take some time to pull your donor reports from the past 5 to 7 years to see who is really giving. If you’ve been wasting valuable stamps (and envelopes and paper and time) on people who haven’t given to your organization since 2015, let them go; they’re just not that into you. Save your valuable stamps for those donors who are giving and even new prospects that haven’t given yet because they need to get to know you and haven’t had the chance to discover how awesome you are yet.

YESvember is a great time to reserve some time to study your data. Be a good steward of your own resources by not marketing to everyone who ever gave you penny. In other words, do less but better.

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Right Brain Marketing Moxie: Now that you know you’re going to be communicating next year only with those donors who have a true Affinity for the work you do and the real Capacity to say YES to what are asking them to do for you, make it worth their while.

Tell your stories, show your impact, and make the real asks that you need to further your mission…all of that…YES!  But none of that has to be boring!  Remember my past blog about sonder? It’s the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness”. 

We’re all out here doing our best and have the best days and the worst days and makin’ it work.  No one is out there saying, I wish I would get some boring mail that doesn’t inspire me to act and be a better person.

So, this YESvember, I want you to say YES to being more creative next year. Use what your right brain was intended to do and give in a workout. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to adopt every idea I write about or show you in my Frideas (Friday Ideas) blog. Both are meant to inspire you to do a bit more than you ever did before.

Maybe this YESvember, you decide that next year you’ll send all mail to look like cards instead of bills.  Or maybe you’ll adopt the use of color or fonts. Maybe you’ll go hog wild and surprise them with gratitude once next year in a way you’ve never, ever done before.

I’m asking you to simply stretch your imagination a bit more than you did last year, give your donors something to talk about, and see what happens.  You might find that those sonderful people actually like it. Then, you have some data of your own to prove that doing more of ‘that’, whatever ‘that’ was, just might be a good thing!

It’s true, NOvember just doesn’t do this month of possibilities justice.  Say YES to a few new things that will bring some flavor to your 2023 donor communications. You just might find that planning ahead now, at the end of 2022, can be a form of self-care for you in 2023. Also, another great thing to say YES to this YESvember.

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And, certainly, feel free to thank your local barista for caffeinating you. They have no idea how many lives they are impacting each and every day—tell them! You'll probably make their day--and who doesn't want to be a day-maker?  Say YES to that!

  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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