This Stylish Flyer Totally Missed its Audience

Matt ClarkJune 20, 2017

This Stylish Flyer Totally Missed its Audience header image

Over the last two weeks, I wrote 3 blogs about messages I received from an organization after going to a few of their concerts. You can read the original and most important blog about the first email here, but I’ll give some quick highlights to catch you up.

My wife and I recently attended a concert at a nonprofit venue, marking the 2nd time within a month we attended a show there – the 4th time overall.

Here’s the email they sent me after attending that 2nd concert within the recent month:

I received a spammy email with no context of the sender, and their messaging and offer was really unclear. After that, the person who sent me the email called me. I hadn’t really read the email, but they jumped right in, asking me for more, treating me like a dollar sign. To really hammer this home, they sent me a letter asking me to donate via the purchase of a grand piano, truly making me feel like an open wallet.

Alright – caught up? Here’s what happened next.

Blatant inconsistencies of a fun flyer

First the email, then the call, followed by a letter, and now: a flyer.

I’m all about flyers. They can really easily notify a constituent of something coming up without seeming overly solicitous.

Bear in mind, however: I’ve already received 3 other messages. From 2 different people. So first, I already feel very solicited, but second, think about the messaging for a moment.

Here’s a mockup of the flyer (identities have been masked, of course).

Do you remember the last (third) piece of marketing they sent me? In case you don’t, it was a letter, inviting me to buy a grand piano.

On the heels of such a steep ask, they sent me this flyer, offering me a promo code to the next series of concerts.

A promo code.

For a potential grand-piano-purchaser.

Pianos into promos

This thought struck me almost immediately: what type of person has money to shell out on a grand piano, yet is incentivized by promo codes? Apart from comedic answers like Warren Buffett or the Monopoly guy, the real answer is: this type of person doesn’t exist!

If you’ve read my blogs, you know my stance on persona-based marketing. It’s the key to nonprofit fundraising, to say the least. We have to be segmenting our donors to give appropriate messaging. Otherwise our efforts will be in vain, and constituents will get burnt out on our constant, inconsistent, and confusing messages. If this org had been segmenting personas at all, they would have seen the faulty connection between someone who is solicited about a grand piano and an offer of a promo code.

People give to people

If there’s one thing that is becoming outrageously common in the 2017 knowledgebase of nonprofit fundraising (that doesn’t actually exist – sorry), it’s the fact that donors are way more likely to contribute if the ask is personalized. Some personalization can actually cause up to an 80% increase in click-through rate.

If that’s not enough to show you how important it is to make communication personal, I don’t know what is.

What’s the point of that two-paragraph rant? Well, the flyer they sent me – after one guy emailed and called me, and someone else asked me to buy a piano – the flyer had no sender info. It wasn’t from anyone. Which is fine, if the flyer is from Macy’s or Chipotle. But if you’re trying to get me involved with your org, then please, make your point of contact consistent!

You know where that flyer went? Straight to my recycling bin. (I know what you’re thinking, and yes: even southern states have recycling.)

The final takeaways

After four blogs of ranting about this marketing experience, we have some short and sweet points for you to implement directly into your development team’s efforts.

  • Know thy donor. Don’t send blanket communications. It’s 2017. Use the tech you have to send the communication your donor needs.
  • Think sales funnel. If you know who your donor is, think about what the logical next steps are, and guide them through the process, like a goose to her goslings.
  • Be personally consistent. Real people give to real people. Build donor relationships and nurture them.


Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Communication