Posted by & filed under Congress, Direct Mail, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Gord Muschett
Partner, The Donnée Group

Direct mail’s dead right? Better sign up for those 47 sessions on social marketing with your pet, your doctor, the environment and anyone else who may have a stake in your fundraising career, yes? Maybe. 

Or maybe you should attend a session that may help you do a better job of tapping into those revenues that are, you know, actually paying the bills. How much money did that last Facebook campaign raise for you? Lots of folks clicking on your QR codes? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘living in the seventies’ direct mail dinosaur. In fact, I’ve been living the online world before a couple of you were even born. I guess that’s why I have a tough time shaking that healthy skepticism towards marketers pitching the latest gimmick that’ll lead you to fundraising nirvana. 

Let me ask – do you bank on your cellphone? Back in 2000, I was front and centre during the dot-com boom with Canada’s stock market darling, 724 Solutions. Here’s a clip from the news on the day of their IPO: 

There’s a new kid in town on Nasdaq– and the kid is from Canada. The company’s name is 724 Solutions and it’s going public at a time when investors are hungry for fresh high-tech stories, especially in the high-demand field of wireless communications.  The 6 million shares that made up the company’s first stock offering surged Friday, the first unofficial day of trading, to $71.81 US on Nasdaq and $103.50 in Toronto.  

And here’s a more recent clip: 

  • Nasdaq 5,000: 10 years later
  • Flashback: The tech bubble was about to burst
  • Remember these stocks?

 724 Solutions, a network and data service company, was regularly gaining $20 a share back then, pushing the stock price of the former dot-com darling close to $300. By 2006, the stock was delisted from the Nasdaq.

Why the financial history lesson on a fundraising conference blog? I think it’s a lesson you should remember when selecting sessions for this year’s outstanding AFP Conference. Fads come and go. Ten years ago, people were making millions on a bet that the world was going to bank through their wireless device. To this day that hasn’t happened and some people lost their shirts (and pants) because of it. 

So “The Winning Test” session at this year’s AFP is going to introduce you to some things you perhaps didn’t know about your bread and butter direct mail program. Myths may be debunked or confirmed. Testing best practices will be reviewed. And you’ll get to have your vote in a fun way on the tests you think are the winners.

But most of all, you may learn something that may help you in a way that chasing the latest fad may not. You’ll learn something that will help your organization raise more money.

Look forward to seeing you there…

Gord Muschett will be presenting “The Winning Test” at AFP Congress 2011