Archive for December, 2010

Very Bad Poerty

DATE: December 24th, 2010

‘Twas the day before Christmas, when all through the agency

We were rushing about, sending greetings and stuff.

The client’s were quiet, preparing to leave,

Our Christmas greetings were delivered

And final phone messages, no clients peeved.

The designers were saving their final PDF”s

The writers proof reading with professional finesse.

The financial manager was deep into her spreadsheets

And the account managers were accomplishing last minute feats.

The IT team was still on the phone

Giving wisdom and relevance to web master’s alone

Kevin was rushing around like a crazy man,

Finishing stuff so he could go home and play Santa

Gayle was struggling to write the last blog

And make it more interesting….. in the late Christmas fog

Everyone, everyone, everyone hoped

That Santa would come quickly

Bringing good gifts (no soap on a rope)

Even as we saved the last of our files,

We listened intently for deer on the tiles.

Raring to go home to see if Randy got his gun

Ready for Christmas and the holiday fun.

For Christmas is the season

Where we understand the marketing reason

Where glitter and glitz have a place in our homes

And magazines, flyers and advertisements roam.

We all want to wish you a happy holiday now

Eat, drink and be generous….. Merry Christmas to all!

The unlikely middle child…

DATE: December 8th, 2010

Trapped between the dominant, overachieving oldest child and the carefree, spontaneous youngest, the middle child is often missed.

So what’s happening to the donor that falls between the mass donor and the major donor?

This past summer and fall we did a little research. We started to investigate what fund raising specialists are thinking about that unlikely middle guy. You can read the full report at but here are a few insights.

First of all, much to our disappointment, many organizations have not met their middle donors. Like that unobtrusive middle child, they quietly contribute without making too much of a fuss. Other organizations manage their middle donors from both sides, treating them, in some instances, like a major donor, and in others like a mass donor. Others have a gut feeling that the middle donor may be a very valuable donor segment, but right now it’s just a gut feeling.

Secondly, no one is able to concretely define the category. Almost everyone is defining the segment by annual gifts, but the range is volatile. For some organizations, the annual gift to move the donor to the middle level was $100. For others it was $5000. We started to wonder if the dollar value was the only evaluation or even the right one.

Thirdly, middle donors are ideal candidates for legacy offers. While they may never give a ginormous gift in their lifetime, they are able to make a significant statement in their bequest.

I invite you to talk to us about your experience with the middle donor. I think the middle child might finally get the attention they deserve.

The Power of Brand

DATE: December 2nd, 2010

I stood at the apex of brand heaven…. Time Square. Thousands of square feet of video signage tempted me to buy. Lured me to the stores. Convinced me of their power.
You cannot go to New York City and not recognize the immense power of brand. A pair of simple cloth flats (shoes) at Sacs on 5th goes for around $875…. People were lined around the street to go into Jimmy Choo’s store…. UGG’s were selling for almost $1000. A glass cube reminiscent of Ayn Rand’s modernism rose out of a concrete plaza. The classic white apple motif was the only image necessary to draw hundreds – no thousands – of eager Apple fans down the spiral staircase into the treasure chest of Apple innovations.
Well known brands draw us with their promises. The very best brands actually deliver what they say. Apple is innovative…. their competition is scrambling to catch up. Coke is the name we give to all brown sparkling sugar waters. Kleenex, Jell-o, Tide are just a few examples of brand names that have become common in our everyday conversation.
So what does brand teach us about our own marketing strategies?
I suggest that brand is important, even to the little guy, here’s why.
1. Consistent visuals (logo, colour, graphic strategies) help build memory.
2. Well defined messages are repeatable.
3. Promises kept build trust.
I am impressed with organizations that have the strength of focus to build complex products or services, yet have the tenacity and brilliance to speak of them in simple terms – terms I can understand easily.
For non-profits, building that brand promise is critical. The overall key messaging should be simple and easily understood. Without a question the issues of poverty, social injustice, mental illness, disease and education are complex. It’s very easy to get caught in the web of unravelling that complexity in our words and stories.
When Barefoot works with an organization on brand, we like to keep the key messages down to 3…. Inevitably it begins to creep. Often the additional messages are just different ways of saying the same thing. Too often the additional messages are added to appease board members or program developers. In all cases complex messaging ceases to communicate.
Several years ago we worked with a company that made paint brushes. The CEO could wax eloquent on the amazing technology behind a paint brush. But she was smart enough to realize her customer didn’t care… she knew that her customer wanted a paint brush that made painting easy. As simple as that!