Mailing too often?
Mailing too often?
“We’re mailing too much.”
Many ministry leaders, CEOs, managers, staffers, and board members feel this way.
“We have to back off,” they say — “people are sick of getting so much mail.”
It’s easy to understand how ministry personnel could get such ideas. They hear comments from their spouses at home, or a friend at church who happens to be on the mailing list. Or they simply look in their own jammed mailbox and arrive at the obvious conclusion.
But the “mail less often” conclusion is based on erroneous, anecdotal data.
A spouse’s complaint or even a handful of letters from donors must be weighed against the dozens or hundreds or even thousands of positive responses — financial contributions — that your ministry receives in response to every appeal for help.
Ministry personnel and their families tend to be on more Christian mailing lists than the average donor, so the ministry staffer’s own mailbox is a poor place to replicate the average donor’s mailbox-emptying experience.
But even more dangerous is the significance we attach to a donor’s letter of complaint about the volume of the ministry’s mail.
“For every letter you get,” ministry staffers may say, “there are a hundred or a thousand who feel the same way but don’t bother to write. They just stop giving.”
But do the math. Let’s say you have 10,000 donors. One donor writes to complain. This should mean that 1,000 of your donors never give to you again.
It just doesn’t happen this way.
And that’s only the Dark Side of the Force. Let’s look on the bright side. You got a 3% response to your last appeal. That means, in essence, that 300 people wrote to endorse your mailing.
Would you say for every giver there were another hundred or thousand who felt the same way but just didn’t bother to send a check or donate online? You can’t. You probably don’t even have enough donors on your file to do the math.
Certainly it’s possible that a single letter of complaint represents another individual, or another five, or another dozen who hold the same opinion. Even so, they probably don’t begin to match up to the numbers of people who are supporting your ministry in response to mailing after mailing.
We must learn to see a family member’s complaint, or a letter-writer’s complaint, for what it really is: one person’s opinion — not the stuff around which we shape our ministry’s entire marketing strategy.
Keep mailing. Keep asking. Keep your ministry going.