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BIG’s Blog: Big Data is Great, but…

Life doesn’t come down to charts, spreadsheets, and data…but experiences.

I can almost hear the cheers of the age fifty-and-older crowd of long-tenured fundraisers whose jobs never included data crunching and analytics in the good old days.

Of course, crunching data is about looking for trends and actionable information. For instance, if you see that 50% of your current donors giving by direct mail always give in the same two months of the year, why are you mailing them another eight times? They have clearly demonstrated a “trend” that should be actionable. This is where charts, spreadsheets, and data can actually save you a lot of money.

Unlike your brethren in the commercial world, fundraisers aren’t selling a product. It is about engaging people in the heart or soul of your mission … the experience.

The mission is the experience.

It is about, first and foremost, making people feel your mission.

What exactly are Geico’s commercials selling? And Flo from Progressive Insurance, she really doesn’t talk much about insurance, does she?  

It’s about connecting a positive experience to their brand of insurance.

And after the Geico and Progressive ads run on TV, where do they go?

Right … YouTube! Why do you suppose they put them on YouTube?

So what about charitable organizations?

Ah, the obvious … sharing the experience of your mission in a way that is real, engaging, and, many times, connects to people.  

For sixty or eighty years, your organization has been sharing those experiences via direct mail appeals.

But direct mail appeals are one-dimensional marketing mechanisms in the increasingly multi-dimensional world dominated by the Internet.

Sharing experiences is what the Internet is really good at, plus that is where the people are.


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