Olympic Curling, Fundraising and Direct-Marketing are kindred spirits

in Direct Mail,Fundraising,Marketing for Nonprofits

This analogy struck me today because I’ve been watching so much of the curling competitions during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I find it an utterly fascinating sport.  And if by chance you haven’t seen any of it, the women’s gold medal match is today at 6pm EST. And the men’s gold medal match is tomorrow – Saturday the 27th at 6pm EST.

So why do I say it’s a kindred spirit to your fundraising campaigns? Because curling isn’t a race and neither is direct-market fundraising.

Shot strategy planning in curling

Planning shot strategy in curling

In curling you need a good strategy.  You’re always planning 2 or 3 moves ahead.  You also need to be ready to adjust that strategy when the other team does something unexpected.  Or when someone misses a shot.  And you need great technique to execute the strategy.

Successful fundraising also requires a good direct marketing strategy.  Yet you never know for certain how the market will react and you need to be able to adjust to the market.

In addition, there are unexpected events such as natural disasters, economic surprises, and emerging technology (e.g., mobile) that you must be ready to adjust to.

And of course you need good technique to execute your strategy.

You need to not only understand multi-channel direct marketing, but also have the skills to execute an integrated strategy.  You need the ability to choose savvy vendors to help with list selection, copywriting and graphic design, printing and mailing, list segmentation, social media, mobile, online fundraising, SEO, web copy and driving traffic, and on and on it goes.

Fundraising isn’t a race.  It requires a good long-term strategy with the flexibility to adjust to the unexpected.  And it demands great technique to execute a winning strategy.

Strive for the gold!  Curl your way to winning fundraising campaigns.