Wisdom Wednesdays: What’s Old is New Again

by Jon Dize

In the fundraising world, we’re often encouraged to “try something new,” to “keep it fresh” or we’re told, “don’t do it like we’ve always done it.”  While these are great concepts to keep in mind, in many instances, we’re finding that the tried and true methods are called that for a reason: they work!

Dize-Jon Headshot 2014For instance …

  1. Millennials: They were the future of giving!  The future part appears to be correct, but as in “their future,” or “when they get older.”  Reality shows us that those 55 and older have the greatest proportion of available assets to donate, and are still our prime constituency for long-term, cheerful giver support for organizations with limited resources to devote to fundraising.  Not to discount the abilities of the Millennials’ impact on the future, but not until the house is paid for, the cars are paid for, the kids are out of college and there’s more available time to devote to their causes will the impact truly be known.
  1. Text giving: Seems like only yesterday that donations by text was going to change everything!  Do you know of anyone that’s still giving to his or her favorite organizations by text?  I don’t.  Online giving is certainly increasing, and so are credit- and debit-card donations (I don’t carry a checkbook except on very rare occasions), but donations the old fashioned way with checks still dominate in many circles.
  1. How about the death of direct mail?  When was the last time you received a newsletter, request letter or save the date postcard?  Yesterday, today, and most likely tomorrow!  While our email inboxes are certainly populated with more e-newsletters than ever, studies are showing that the tried-and-true method of mailing requests and information are still an effective way to gain a donor’s attention.

While development is always changing, and we need to be nimble, it’s imperative to pay attention to what hasn’t changed, what still works and what will continue to be important into the future.

Jon Dize, CFRM, serves as the Director of Advancement for The Lutheran Schools Partnership in Fort Wayne, Ind.  He is also President of the Indiana-Michigan Chapter ALDE.  Contact him at jond@tlspartnership.org(260) 203-4510, on LinkedIn or via Twitter: @JonDize17.

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