I have mixed feelings about expensive campaign brochures and materials.
Here’s my ruthlessly practical take on them — there are good things about them and there are some not so good things about them.
Here’s how various players involved in the capital campaign process feel about these expensive materials.
Your Board and CEO’s Impression
Expensive campaign materials make them feel proud.
Nothing makes the internal leaders happier than fancy materials. Especially when these expensive “image” brochures promote (even glorify) the institution and its leadership — both past and present.
The materials are often all about the organization itself and not so much about the work it does.
Our history! Our traditions! What we believe in! Our successes! Our leaders and how smart and wonderful they are! Our great work in the community!
Of course your leaders love this stuff. I would, too!
But is it necessary?
Does it speak a donor’s language?
Campaign Volunteers’ Impression
Expensive campaign materials give them confidence.
Many campaign volunteer solicitors are a bit scared to go out and make their calls. And they love having these materials.
In fact most volunteers like a whole stack of materials: 4-color brochures, FAQ’s, footprints, pledge cards, pocket folders, newsletters, maps, lists… you name it!
I’ve seen volunteers quaking at the knees but managing to go forward. Why? Because they can clutch these materials for back up support.
This is an important function. We want our volunteers to feel supported. But can we do it another, less expensive way?
Your Donors’ Impression
Expensive campaign materials don’t mean a lot to your donors.
Donors say that they don’t really read the stuff. The entire stack of materials will sit on their desk, unopened.
Experienced campaign consultants will all tell you that it’s the oral presentation that “sells” the donor — NOT the materials.
Never expect anything on paper to do the selling for you. It’s always your conversation that makes the gift happen.
Campaign guru Jerry Panas says that he likes to leave the materials with the donor at the END of the conversation — if at all.
According to Jerry, the materials are an afterthought. He tries a different take with special donors: He uses custom-prepared notebooks for specific solicitations that are designed especially for a particular donor.
Something custom-prepared tells the donor they are a lot more special than a generic campaign brochure — one that just might be out of date before it’s distributed.
You can waste a lot good money on fancy but misguided one-size-fits-all brochures. Instead, develop simpler materials that are designed to work for your different audiences.
What do YOU think?
Leave us a comment below!