Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why poor execution can get in the way of a solid approach

I'll often get into a healthy debate with someone about my views on something specific, let's say direct response fundraising.

Case in point recently (this has happened several times) when chatting to various fundraisers about the best way to get your onetime (cash) donors to commence a monthly gift. For tips on this refer to an earlier post Getting the most by getting it monthly.

The conversation invariably includes several bemused looks, a lot of confusion and me being told my suggestion is contrary to the advice of most others. By the way my advice normally centres around a singular monthly focus, in a stand alone appeal, with no option to give a one time cash gift.

I normally hear, "but we tried that and it didn't work".

To which I ask to have a look at the efforts to adopt this approach.

Usually (and I'm being kind here) the execution is extremely poor. Mixed messages, no real explanation of why monthly giving is vital, and more about the mechanics of monthly giving than real benefits.

The point?

Just because you've tried something and it didn't work doesn't mean the approach is wrong.

Often you just did it poorly.

So what should I do about in situations like this?

Don't accept the execution was great, revisit your work and ask the tough questions. Don't be afraid to be self critical.

Continue to test varying approaches.

Look at what others have done and learn from it.

Give it another shot but make it better (based on learning, involving other people).


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