Relationships Via Technology

In October, I attended bbcon, a great conference for users of the Convio and Blackbaud platforms. In one standing-room-only session on year-end campaigns, the speaker issued a directive to the audience.

"If you're not sending to your entire online file on December 31st, you're missing the boat," she said.

A hand flew up.

"Even if the constituent already gave to the campaign, just send them another email asking for a gift, making no mention of the prior gift?"

"Yes, absolutely. The numbers bear it out," the presenter insisted.

Perhaps so. But does that make it the right course of action? Always?

I'm a direct marketer. I believe in data—and data driving decisions. Still, when data is driving you in ways you wouldn't behave in any respectful relationship, it's time to reconsider.

I draw the line at NOT acknowledging a donation.

Right now, the world of data and communications are at an interesting crossroads. Data can do many things, but not all things. The real challenge for us all will be in knowing where its potential (and limitations) lie.