Five updates for an ever-changing time

It’s time for an update speed round to catch you up on our unique times…

1. It wasn’t the end of the world for mail fundraising.  In March, we talked about how direct marketing generally survives even in negative economic conditions.  We now have more than a quarter of data under our belts and, sure enough, mail results have actually been up.  You can see the caging results from Aegis Processing Solution’s clients here, but the TL; DR version is that Q2 mail volume was up 6.5% year-over-year and average gift was up even more.

2. Digital opportunities during COVID-19.  In April, we talked about how costs are down and click-throughs are up in the current digital environment.  But now, thanks to Merkle’s Q2 Digital Marketing Report, we have updates through the end of June. 

Sure enough, clicks were up and cost per click went down significantly throughout Q2.  For nonprofits, the effect was a bit more muted, but we still saw a 14% drop in cost-per-click.

3. Retaining the COVID-19 donor in video form.  Many of you downloaded our Retaining the COVID-19 donor white paper when it came out last month.  Now it comes in video form, with a COVID-19 donor retention video up here

4. Social isolation leads to stress.  In April, we talked about how we have a responsibility to talk to our donors during this time, as isolation can increase stress levels among many other bad outcomes.

To update this, we can report that people are stressed.  I’m sure you, stress-free, doubt this, but TNPA and O’Brien Garrett recently surveyed donors to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their well-being.  The most common answer: 35% said they were suffering from stress and anxiety.  The only reason this was not greater, most likely, is because people were also suffering worse impacts that made the list, with eight percent losing a friend or loved one, six percent losing jobs, and three percent being sickened themselves.  Just a reminder to keep checking in with your donors during these times!

5. Trolls predict the future.  On the lighter side, in May, we talked about how the Trolls World Tour movie led to a fight between Universal and AMC because Universal wanted to allow people to get new releases on demand earlier.  AMC said they would no longer show Universal movies; we stated that AMC misunderstood and misunderstands that it is in the entertainment business, not the movie business, and is competing with all the other entertainment options for your dollar.  The lessons for nonprofits is that your donors, not you, choose the channel and that you have to deliver a specific warm glow, not a generic one, to get ahead.

Sure enough, yesterday, AMC folded like a Barbie chair under a sumo wrestler.  Instead of having movies for 70 days, they will now have them for 17 days before people can see them in non-movie-theatre settings.  Don’t be surprised if you see that whittled down over time in classic Darth Vader “pray I don’t alter it further” fashion, in the same way you shouldn’t trust Facebook when they own the donor, not you.

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