Direct Marketing Monday – Nov. 21, 2011

Wow, it has been almost a month since I have posted something for Direct Marketing Monday.  I have been quite busy with everyday work and everyday life, which resulted in me really needing a not so everyday vacation.  While I was on vacation, I did a really good job of not thinking about work at all.  It was great to see that when I set my mind to something, I can really nail it.

Now that I’m back and have had a week to catch up, I got to thinking about something that happened on vacation that really had a negative impact on part of our experience.  It didn’t ruin our vacation at all (and let’s be honest, sitting by a pool in the sun knocking back a few drinks with a beautiful woman laying beside me is pretty tough to ruin), but it did change how we enjoyed our time away.  On our first day, we were relaxing under a tree on the beach when we were approached by one of what seemed like a million vendors.  The guy was making some bracelets and could personalize them, so we thought they would be nice souvenirs, especially for my daughter.  We agreed on a price of $3 US before he started the work and sat back while he did his thing.

After the vendor had finished his work and told us some completely incomprehensible stories about what we can only assume was the NHL and Winnipeg’s rightful return, he asked for payment.  I gave him $10 US, to which he balked.  We were totally confused.  We thought we were giving him payment along with a $1 tip, but he suddenly started telling us that the cost was 350 Dominican Pesos per bracelet (approximately $10 US per bracelet).  This clearly wasn’t the deal that was originally arranged and it was clear that he was trying to confuse and play us.  In the end, we gave him $10 for the bracelet for my daughter and told him to keep the other two bracelets (which were personalized with our names…and were now useless to him).

We ended up walking away and with all of the other vendors on the beach, we were so irritated, we ended up spending the rest of our vacation anywhere but on the beach.  The experience (that was actually sanctioned by the resort) was so negative, that it acted as a deterrent against one of the attractions of the resort.

The experience reminded me of when I was trying to make a donation to an organization a few years ago.  I went to their website to buy into their specific cause, but when I got to their page, the process to make a donation was anything less than simple or enjoyable.  There wasn’t any good background information about the cause or the specific event; you couldn’t really tell if you were donating to the designated cause or if you were making a general donation and for the amount I donated, I didn’t even receive a personal thank you, which would have been a nice touch.  Overall, I was rewarded for trying to do something positive with a negative experience.  The part that really stayed with me is that I’m still not really sure where in the organization my donation was routed.  Had I really supported the cause that I wanted to? Were other people experiencing the same thing?  Was this a deliberate action in order to route donations to the areas the organization really wanted?  These were all questions I was left asking.  I felt that I had been misled, just like I had on the beach.  Needless to say, I haven’t donated to that organization since.

So what simple lessons can organizations take from my story above?  Here are some quick points:

1. Make your destination page simple.  There should be very clear information about the organization, the specific cause and it should be completely clear where donations made on that page are going within the organization.

2. Set a donation amount that will result in a personalized thank you call from either a representative within your organization or from a designated call centre.  People who have been personally thanked will feel more connected to the cause and will be more likely to donate in the future.

3. If a specific target has been set, make sure this is being clearly communicated to your potential donors.  You might want to create a slogan around it or even build it right into your campaign title.  Donors need to be encouraged to assist your organization in reaching a common goal.

In the end, you want to reach a goal, but in addition, you want your organization to come across as being truthful and organized.  Clear communication to your potential donors is key if you want to not only receive one time donations, but hopefully turn those donors into monthly donors.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment