There are two things (among others) to keep in mind when creating your communications piece. I’m making the assumption here that segmentation is not an option (for whatever reason) and we are dealing with print (physical or electronic) media that is delivered to the audience. However, these two items also pertain to other visual media as well.
- Audience – who are you communicating with? This can have great ramifications on the text and design of your piece. Age, gender, occupation, location, etc. All of this comes into play when writing your text, designing the graphics, and determining delivery methods.
If you are not segmenting, your group will potentially cross a number of demographics. This is fine as long as you keep #2 in mind.
- Purpose – what do you want this audience to do? If you want one particular action from them, don’t muddy the water by including extra details or offering other options. If it is purely informational, don’t ask them to do something (except maybe to share it with others). If part of your audience might be interested in some other aspect of your product or services, avoid the temptation to add those options. Leave that for another day and another communications opportunity.
Remembering these two items in particular will help you keep your communications clear and concise and will increase your effectiveness.
Okay, this should be easy. Simple attention to detail. But how often do we skip a simple step and end up looking like complete morons?
I received a postcard in the mail today here at work. In fact, we received 10 of them. A consulting company marketing themselves as a grant writing and funding consulting service. But they blundered. They had our address attached to 10 different individuals and companies. I assume that something went wrong in their mailmerge process. But apparently nobody thought to do any quality checking on their mailing. Or on their data entry earlier. Not a good way to build confidence. Or a customer base.
Business people are used to talking about Return on Investment. And many times we try to apply some measurement of ROI in the non-profit world as well. I would contend that within the development arena, ROI is particularly challenging to measure. Some efforts produce an easy to measure statistic. Others – not so much.
Take direct mail for instance. 95% of ROI can be measured easily. Costs spent on the mailing vs donations returned. The other 5 % might be goodwill, name recognition, or just plain informing. Of course, if done badly, this 5% might be negative and actually hurt the organization.
What about donor events? Vastly expensive in both direct expenditures and staff impact. Especially if the organization makes every attempt to run lean. But how do you measure ROI? Do you absorb the costs knowing that your donors have been impacted (hopefully positively) by the event? Is the information that you have shared with them enough? Does the fact that this group of donors has received a special invitation to a special event serve as enough motivation to keep their engagement with the organization?
Now I realize that donor events come in all flavors of size and purpose. But I just want to throw out some thinking surrounding this development activity.
I would contend that maybe ROI for donor events is not truly measurable. But the events themselves can be powerful connectors for donors. So in that sense, they shouldn’t be ignored entirely.
Just a thought.