Recently, a client was approached by an advertising sales rep at a large national publication peddling a 1/8-page ad in a “special edition” that will be distributed to thousands of people for free. She asked me, “What do you think? Lots of visibility!”
I told her, “Don’t do it!”
Here’s a quiz to help you decide if you should do something like this or not:
__________ How much does it cost?
__________ How many people will see it? Not how many emails will go out or how many will be printed or how many will be mailed? Find out HOW MANY WILL REALLY SEE IT?
__________ What is the intended result or objective?
__________ How will you know if you achieved the intended result or objective?
__________ How soon will you know if you achieved the intended result or objective?
__________ What will the return on your investment be? Note: If you can’t put a dollar figure in this spot, take a pause and think very carefully about the next question.
__________ Would you be willing to invest YOUR money in this instead of your DONORS’?
__________ If the answer to the question above is “no”, now you should sit down and write a letter to your donors explaining why they should pay for this. Then post it on your blog or Facebook page. Too afraid to do that? Then you should also be afraid to pay for “visibility.”
Your fundraising and engagement efforts ARE your visibility channels and they raise money at the same time. Just do more good fundraising and engagement and you’ll get your “visibility.” Never spend your donors’ money for “visibility.”
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