Branding, Marketing, Non Profit Innovation

Its Like You Don’t Even Know Me…………….

There’s no excuse for sloppy marketing.  Yet it abounds.  Join my crusade to stamp it out.

The first fortress we must charge, crusaders, is the direct mail department at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Until now they’ve resisted my attempts at passively ignoring them.  So I’m resorting to public shaming.

Our story began at Christmas time, 2011, when I gave each of my nieces and nephews a blank $100 check and a stamped envelope.  I wanted them to select a charity that mattered to them, and contribute my check.  I’ve been doing this for several years – it’s a way I convey to them the importance I place on philanthropy, and it’s a way to learn what’s important to them.  One of my nieces sent the check to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Despite my name on that single check, despite the voluminous and easily accessible demographic and psychographic data available on every consumer in this land, and despite the relatively simple technology that allows marketers to append demographic data to their file to get a better profile of their customer, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation made the bold choice to ignore all that, and to assume that all of their donors are exactly alike, and that we’re a certain stereotype of the littlest of little old ladies.

And as a result, for the past two years I’ve been besieged with odd direct mail gifts – note cards with hummingbirds (I don’t send notes), an embroidered pillow case that someone thought would look LOVELY on my sofa, and this weekend two 2014 calendars – one with iconic and trite shots of America, the other with different varieties of roses.  Who uses wall calendars?  Who uses two wall calendars?

They’ve easily spent all of my $100 contribution trying to get another $100 out of me.  And seem to spend all their time talking about their organization and boasting about the mailbox load of crap they’ve sent me.

Not a single picture of a child with the disease and what CFF is doing for that child.  Not a single story or picture from the laboratory or profile of a researcher valiantly pursuing a cure.

Lots of words.

Lots of calendars.

One wretched pillowcase.

And while I understand that direct mail is a game of numbers, all of this leads me to ask:

“Are your efforts to fight the disease as unsophisticated as your marketing program?”

For the kids with CF sake, let’s hope not.


One thought on “Its Like You Don’t Even Know Me…………….

  1. Eddie Gonzalez says:

    I’ll go on step further and ask when is the last time a major charity declared “mission accomplished” then shut-down so that their donors could support other causes. Way too many charities are in the business of being in business rather than in actually addressing a resolution to their issue. Yes, some issue continue indefinitely but we need to know that contributions are making a difference rather than just feeding the charitable industrial complex (as mentioned in your previous post). My $.02.

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