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    July 9, 2008

    Leave it to politicians..

    To figure out how to lose me as a donor...

    Anyone who's ever lived in an apartment or condo complex has had the experience of coming home after say, a week on vacation in beautiful Colorado, and opening your mailbox in a process that mimics confetti coming out of a confetti cannon.

    My particular mailbox is even more stuffed than most since I get seeds from all my clients' mailings, and my clients are avid mailers. So when I came home I wasn't surprised at the volume of mail that had overflowed so much in one week that the front desk was holding half of it, but I was surprised to find not one, not two, but three pieces of direct mail from my political party of choice asking me for money.

    Now let me give you a little bit of background. They weren't soliciting me out of thin air. About 6 months ago, I got very excited about a candidate. He was an underdog. Not many thought he had a chance. During the beginning of the primaries, not too many commentators spent time talking about him or his positions because no one really thought he had a chance of winning...

    But I thought he had such a great chance of winning, I took the initiative to get on this candidate's website, registered, and give money to his campaign not only once, but twice in the span of a few months..

    So what happened with the candidate? (I bet you are expecting me say he is now his party's nominee...)

    He went on to become the party no...Oh wait. That's what I had hoped would happened. My particular undergod dropped out afte a few primaries. I was pretty disappointed. I had liked reading his and his staff's daily email updates from the road-they really had a way of making a person feel like you were there with them. But I pressed on. The party was now down to the final two. So I again picked a candidate I liked, again went online, and gave some cash. Just once this time.

    And yet again, my candidate was not the last one left standing.

    But here is the kicker. As soon as the party had a "presumptive nominee" I started getting flooded with direct mail. I have gotten at least 2 pieces of mail (and let's note this is all in the last 3-4 months from the nominee (or his staff) , several from the national committee, from prominent Senators, famous people who have gotten on the bandwagon, in fact, I am a little suprised I haven't gotten a letter from his mother!

    Now, it would seem reasonable to think that if a 3 time web donor like me is getting so much snail mail, my poor inbox must just be jam-packed with email solicitations.

    But guess how many emails I have gotten? Not one! (Ok, excluding the one where the first guy I supported jumped on the current guys bandwagon and encouraged me to do the same).

    It's true that conventional fundraising wisdom tells us that the chances of converting an email donor to direct mail, while not great, are still better than getting a direct mail donor to give via email, but I have no idea where this wisdom came from or what age group it was tested in, because I gotta tell you, the changes of converting a 27 year old from giving by email to writing you a check are slim-to-none.

    So to review, I get excited about a cause and give online. I then get flooded by direct mail which completely puts me off the whole thing. People on the other end, who keep mailing me with no success prove their point that "these young people" are terrible long-term donors because they never give again. And the cycle continues...

    (P.S. I fully realize that political fundraising is not the same as charitable giving-but at the core, the motivation is largely the same-a donor's believe in your "cause" and their willingness to show that commitment through financial means, repeatedly.)

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