Monthly Archives: May 2012

Just like the Alamo: REMEMBER THE BOOMERS!

by Willie Matis

A couple weeks ago, I posted about NFC & QR – two technology related things that NEED to be on every fundraisers radar.   Well, last week, I read a post by Justin Brady on Achieve’s blog.  Achieve is about to release their 2012 Millennial Impact Report (if you have not registered to receive it yet, do it NOW), but that is not what the post is about.  The post is talking about REMEMBERING older generations when creating your mobile website, iPad app, and more.

0849 MacSE

OLD PEOPLE DON’T USE THESE ANYMORE! (flickr photo by crabchick)

As much as I would love to keep the Millennial generation on a technological island, that just wouldn’t be right.  There are some boomers who are tech savvy, others who DO KNOW how to navigate the web (even if it is to do something simple), and yes the others realize that they better catch up with technology to keep up.

With “the next generation” up and coming, set to be the largest generation since the boomers, there is  A TON of research being done to find out how to engage millennials.  This is all well and good, but let’s remember one large stereotype of my generation – unfortunately we are overloaded with student loan debt, still in entry/mid-level jobs and are trying to start our lives.  I don’t see much disposable income fitting into that equation.


I am not saying go back to making all of your appeals general for the masses.  I am saying to remember boomers when creating your new website, when pushing out new blog posts, and remember that they are pretty smart people (and tech savvy), too!

How do you separate, yet remember both boomers and millennials in your appeals?
Are you a boomer? How do YOU use technology to keep up?
Are you a millennial?  Is it important to you to remain separate from boomer appeals?


Filed under Fundraising in General

NFC. QR Codes. Fundraisers! Stay Ahead of the Curve.

written by Willie Matis

So, I almost hesitated in posting about this, but after seeing that the Event Manager Blog wrote about NFC back in April of 2011 I felt that we as fundraisers need to have this conversation.



SERIOUSLY?? What is with all of these acronyms?  Honestly, you don’t NEED to know what they stand for, you just need to know what they ARE and what they DO.

What are QR codes and what do they do?

Hopefully by now, most of us know what QR codes are.  Here is one below…

You can scan this thing with your mobile phone (go ahead see where it takes you).  After you scan it, you are taken to a mobile site.  A lot of fundraisers are using this to lead potential donors to a mobile giving site, especially during events.  QR codes are great.  You can customize them with your logo, any colors, and any shapes that you would like.  If you want to stay on top of QR codes and how you can put them to EXCELLENT use, pay attention to Joe Waters’ blogs & tweets (he is in the process of writing QR Codes for Dummies). QR codes give you a chance to direct a donor to the exact site you want to send them to.

But there is a new player in town..

What is NFC and what does it do?

Have you used the “Bump-It” app on your smartphone yet? If no – it’s an app where you can easily transfer contact information, movies, or apps simply by giving each other a fist bump with your phone in your hand.  If yes – you are a little ahead of the curve when it comes to NFC.

(By the way, NFC is not talking about the conference in the NFL.)

After reading more about NFC’s capabilities, I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of it when comparing it to QR codes.  Reason 1 – because of the ease for people to connect with you on social media through NFC.  Reason 2 – my QR scanner on my phone always screws up and has led me to end a lot of my tweets with #droidproblems.

Okay, Willie tell us more about NFC. NFC stands for “Near Field Communication”.  The best example other than the Bump-It app that I can think of is the Mastercard QUICK PAY

How can fundraisers use NFC to their advantage?

I can see it being used best at fundraising events.  If you read this blog that was just written at the Event Manager Blog, then you can read about a case study done where event-goers were able to tell their friends on Facebook which appetizers they liked best, simply by swiping their bracelet next to the label of the particular dish.

Another great way to use NFC is giving guests a chance to quickly upload pictures from photo booths at an event.  For both of these examples, all that event-goers had to do was load their social media log-ins into their bracelet.  Trust me, these NFC companies have experts to take care of the backend stuff – you don’t need to worry too much about the tech stuff.

NFC and QR Codes and Mobile… oh my!

NFC and QR codes will be ever changing.  Especially in the beginning because they will be competing for the top spot.  I think each will have its advantages and it’s disadvantages.  For the right now, QR codes are your most cost effective approach because you can create them for free using

But I would suggest learning more about both (here is a recommended NFC company).  Mobile is no longer the future, mobile is now.  As fundraisers we need to stay ahead of the curve.

Have you used QR codes or NFC in a campaign or event and seen success?
What is your biggest obstacle with mobile?
Stay ahead of the curve, join the conversation!


Filed under Social Media

Direct Mail Pieces that will attract Millennials

post by Willie Matis


So.  You may be wondering why I am talking about direct mail pieces that attract millennials if millennials don’t read.  Now this isn’t entirely true, but it did suck you into reading further right? Okay, so if you are a millennial then I need to regain your attention right about….

NOW! Check out this picture…

books read in 2009

flickr photo by stevecoutts

For us fundraisers, it is hard to get ANYONE’S attention.  Let alone the “multi-tasking, ever-texting, no eye-contact” millennials.  (This is where I stop making fun of people my age and get to show you that we are capable bodies.)

These two articles here (Article 1, Article 2) show that millennials DO READ, we just do so differently.  We don’t go to the library and take out Encyclopedia Brittanica Volume 5 out anymore to learn about seals  and sharks.  At least we haven’t since the 3rd grade. So, if millennials read but read differently, then how can you tailor your direct mail differently?

1. Don’t put it in an envelope.

We have already received too many credit cards, bills and other junk in envelopes.  Make your direct mail piece a unique size that does not resemble an envelope in the slightest bit.

2. Immediately give us an action.

Similar to how I told the millennials to look at that picture.  Your eye catching image, title or picture needs to present an action that can be taken.  After you tell us what to do, we most likely will read the your short paragraph to understand WHY you want us to take that action.

3. Make that action something that you can track.

So this is the tricky part.  You want to find out if your direct mail piece worked.  Obviously in the past, you judge successful direct mail by responses that include a check.  The likelihood of a millennial having a checkbook is very, very slim.  The likelihood of a millennial having a checkbook in their purse or somewhere that they KNOW where it is?? Probably impossible.

Make the next action measureable.  You are probably now thinking about sending us to your website and having us sign up for your eNewsletter.  IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO SO! Just be honest in telling us why you are having us fill out another online form asking us for our name and email address.  Just tell it like it is.  Have the header of the sign up form say – Yes we are asking for you to sign up for our eNewsletter because we really want to tell you a story about how you can help Timmy the Elephant protect his family in South Africa.

(So that was a made up story but it takes me to my final point.)

4. Tell us a fantastic story within 48 hours of us taking that action.

Timmy the Elephant protecting his family in South Africa would be a great story for the millennial who is worried about elephants going extinct.  John Doe going from homelessness to helping others off the streets will be great for the millennial who wants to assist the homeless.  Tell us a fantastic story, but tell it in a fantastic way.

So if you read every word of this blog post, you are either 1) not a millennial or 2) I did a great job of attracting you, the millennial.  Your action step? Subscribe to this blog & we will talk more about how to tell stories that engage millennials.


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Filed under Direct Mail

The Wait and See Attitude – not a good one for you or your donors.

written by Molly Hahn

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank

It seems that May brings a time of transition for many – the ending of a school year and looking forward to summer affect all of us even if we don’t operate on the school calendar. It’s always busy – trying to fit in parties and graduations, and if we’re lucky, lots of fundraising work. For me personally, this month represents a rather large shift in my personal life and professional career. For the first time in more than 15 years, I won’t be working full time, but I’ll be staying at home with my kids. I think many of us get caught up in “wait until the next stage” or “we’ll see how it goes” instead of acting as soon as we have the inspiration. For me, I feel like I’ve been putting off activities like volunteering because of my professional demands and the lack of balance I was feeling between that and home.


flickr photo by klynslis

This month’s AFP-IC half day workshop will focus on integrating annual fund, planned giving, and major gifts – all of which improve the world around us greatly. How often do we talk to donors who have the same “wait and see” or “this isn’t the right time” mentality? Waiting to pay off kids’ college tuitions, to pay off a house, to save up enough money to give. How can we as fundraisers inspire those donors to not wait a single moment? For whatever our cause – from illness to homelessness to education to the arts – we and our donors are together changing the world.

One of the keys to success in fundraising is balancing what is really important to get done yet still acting when inspired. As I approach life as a full-time mom, I realize that I won’t be able to do it all right away. While I want my children to know that giving back is important, I know I will need to balance that with family time and other priorities as well.

As you think about your fundraising plan for this year, what are your priorities? What are your donor’s priorities? To truly work together, you have to balance those and keep the end result in sight.

Whatever that balance is, know that you don’t have to wait a single moment longer to get it started.

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Filed under Fundraising in General