I'm Sorry, You're Mistaking Me For Someone Who Cares
It seems like I dig more and more detritus out of my postal mailbox daily. Real estate flyers, carpet cleaning coupons, solicitations from countless nonprofits. So it was with glee that I read Marc Sirkin's post "How the New Web Transforms Your Organization" at his "NPMarketing" blog. True, the title of the post doesn't quite hint at the gems to come... but down inside, past the Sheryl Crow picture, is his "sample of how any typical NPO might currently treat you." This is a clever and true accounting of how those newsletters we get in the mail fail to impress us, and keep returning in one form or another to continue in the same manner.
My favorite part: "A few weeks later, you get a direct mail piece from that same organization. It includes mailing labels, but you chuckle because the last time you sent a letter was NEVER. Everyone you know is on email and you pay your bills online."
Actually, I like the mailing labels. But I digress... Marc's piece made me think about a newsletter I receive from a former employer...
It arrives roughly every quarter, a glossy newsletter from a this large, national education organization. The newsletter tells me all about the programs going on, how many kids are keeping their heads and hearts in handy, healthy order, who's given big bucks lately.
Great. Marvelous. Wonderful. I find it hard to care.
See, I was an EMPLOYEE there. I was never a MEMBER. So the soft-sell tactic of keeping me informed on the organization's progress in the hopes that I would give mu-nay ($ - which I'm asked for in a separate mailing) not only doesn't work, it doesn't keep the publication alive in my condo for more than 30 seconds - it goes right into the trash.
I would tell my former employer to save the postage and remove me from the mailing list, as I have no intention of giving any money. But I have a retirement fund of some sort with them, which I'll start receiving at 65, and I don't want them to remove me from that list. Plus I also want to stay informed if anything happens to that pension.
A couple of years ago, some former colleagues put together a reunion of some of the organization's employees. Nothing fancy, just a pay-your-own-way dinner at a local restaurant, and a chance to catch up with people we hadn't seen in a long time. It was fun. We were engaging each other with stories of our times at the organization. Nobody spoke of the organization's mission, vision, guiding principles, etc.
If my former employer really wants to get closer to me, and THEN ask me for money, I need to be treated as a former employee, someone who worked for the company. They've mistakenly pegged me as an alumni of the program.