LIFE MEMBER NEWSLETTER DISCUSSION
By Kevin L. Bachler [KLB]
[BG] are comments by the editor
[KLB] I saw the piece on the life
member newsletter. Certainly, there are some criticisms that can be raised
both regarding the newsletter and the article. Let me mention one of each.
The article criticized the newsletter for committing to a semi-annual publication, and noted that we may want to see the return on this mailing first. It is common knowledge (call your local small college development office for confirmation) that a mailing like this -- which is essentially an alumni appeal -- may do very poorly in the first several mailings. Alumni appeals do well by being consistent. Perhaps the way this was handled was poor, but the idea of commitment to the concept (for a significant time) is correct.
[BG] Interesting point, but it only argues for continuing even if the response is poor.
[KLB] Yes -- but not indefinitely. While I know it takes a while to build donations in this way, I do not know if there is "an average" time. Certainly, if done well, it should be given some amount of appropriate time to see if it pans out.
The problem with any "marketing approach" is that the results are often not immediately apparent.
[BG] I still don't see the reason for the announcement of the semi-annual schedule- better to see how much money comes in, get some input from life members, and then retain the flexibility of doing annual, semi-annual or more frequent mailings in the future.
[KLB] At first I thought so too--but in talking to a college fundraiser they made the point that if the delivery is stated definitely that the returns are often better.
On the other hand, this should have been mailed first class, because part of the idea was to get returned newsletters to find out who we could remove from the life membership rolls. I believe that Helen Warren had intended to volunteer to spend several hours doing this in the month of June -- only to be frustrated to find that this is not now possible.
[BG] I would have complained about this too, but I thought it was mailed first class- didn't see the envelope as I was away the day it arrived and it was thrown out.
[KLB] Apparently, this seems to have been some kind of an office error. I know that Helen had a trip to the office planned just to go through the returned envelopes to remove them from the LM list! Hopefully this error will be corrected with the next