Hugg’s Monthly Tip: We need left and right.

Hugg's Monthly TipLeft leg, right leg. Right hand, left hand. Left eye, right eye. Right ear, left ear.

To function correctly, we need everything on the left and everything on the right. Without that symmetry, we compensate, and when we compensate we use a lot more energy to coordinate our efforts.

It’s the same with your messaging. Does your right letter know what your left email is doing?

Are your emails and postal mail coordinated? Yes, they’re different, but like our two hands, when working together they’re much more powerful than working alone. They need to look and sound like they’re coming from the same organization that has the same mission and concerns.

Yet like your hands, your emails and postal mail shouldn’t be clones of each other. One might be stronger than the other, and one could be favored. But as much as they differ, they can’t look like they come from different people.

Yet a lot of messaging does. Maybe different people were responsible for each? Did your boss want your “new media” to have a “new look,” while your paper is “traditional?”

The solution may be as simple as having the same design standards. It could be a meeting between “hands.” Regardless, now is the time to clap them together and to fix the problem. Paper and e-mail don’t do as well alone as they do as a team. The hands need to shake, and agree.

Worth Considering: Email’s older cousin comes to the rescue.

Worth Considering from Matt HuggHow old is an “old” e-mail in your in-box? Three hours? Eight? How about 24? How many e-mails are over two days old? In e-mail terms, these are the Methuselahs.

E-mail and its cousins like text messages and internal social network messages are great ways to communicate quickly and efficiently. But there’s a major point to consider before you hit the “send” button for your next solicitation: what’s this message’s “hang time.” How long will your carefully crafted e-mail stay in the prospect’s mail box, and if it’s there, will it get a positive response?

But even if it’s not immediately deleted, the clock is still not your e-mail’s friend. The life-cycle of an e-mail is counted in minutes. If you get a response, you get a response now, not days from now. So if you’re not getting responses, what’s the solution? Send more e-mail?

Ironically enough, no. You know the answer. Despite the fact that e-mail is a much shorter lived medium, social constrictions stop us from sending more of them. In early 21st century America, being an accused “spammer” is up there with “breaking and entering” if you were to believe the popular press – especially if the e-mail recipient didn’t ask for the mail.

So what comes to the e-mail’s rescue? Its low tech, older cousin, postal mail. Why? Because postal mail stays on your prospect’s desk longer than an e-mail stays in an “In Box.” How much longer? Take your own survey based on your own mail and e-mail, but I’d say hundreds to thousands of times longer.

So is e-mail worthless? Not at all. The more gifts you can get by e-mail the more money you save, not just in mailing, but in gifts processing costs. After all, your donor is doing much of the data input by entering the gift information themselves.

What you need to do is back up your e-mail with paper mail. Use the same themes and maybe the same images. Coordinate each with the other so when someone gets your paper mail they remember the e-mail, and when they get the e-mail they can act on the paper. It can be a powerful combination.

Of course, I’m biased. I can write both your e-mail and paper mail solicitation. But whether you use me or do the work in-house, remember that e-mail works best with its older cousin paper mail, than it does alone.

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: Early and Often.

Hugg's Monthly TipEarly and often.¬†When was the last time that the head of your organization communicated with your constituents? Not long ago, I hope. Yet that’s rarely the case. For all the work that’s required to run your typical nonprofit, sending out an update to 10,000 of her or his closest friends – your donors, prospects and clients – is probably not #1 on the list. That’s okay. Make it easy and write the letter (or have Matt write the letter) yourself. Regular communication with donors is a major problem for most nonprofits. Don’t let it be yours.

Worth Considering: You still need a brochure.

Worth Considering from Matt HuggNo, I’m not a shill for the paper printing industry. I really do believe that you need more than a web site to tell the story of your organization. You need a brochure.

Yes, I can hear you now – you’re so 1980’s, Matt. But let’s look at how computers can’t be used:

  • You can’t put a computer in a brochure rack
  • You can’t put a computer in an envelope
  • You can’t put a computer on a table at a meeting as a “take away.”
  • You can’t give out computers at a gathering of supporters
  • Yes, you CAN put a computer in your pocket, but will you give it away for free so that someone learns about your organization?

I’m sure that there’s more.

But the point is that computers will only take us so far. At some point we need to rely on “low tech” solutions, like a brochure.

Of course, I’m biased. I write brochure copy for my clients. But whether you use my services, or do the work in-house, having materials such as brochures is an important part of getting your message out to your constituents, and getting volunteers, and money, in.