Are you playing it safe with your nonprofit communications?

This week I had the highest unsubscribe rate in the year or so history of publishing my weekly enews.

Was it due to the fact that I was more than a little wiped out from overwork and hadn’t produced a piece up to my own standards?  Or was it (more than likely) due to my noting that the NPR setup spearheaded by reich wing “journalist” James O’Keefe was oh-so-similar to the destruction of the nonprofit community group ACORN?

ACORN made a great story for the millions who watch “faux” news television reports, I noted.  Far fewer people are aware that ACORN was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.  Just as the fact that NPR repeatedly refused to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, has generally been ignored by mainstream media sources.


Apparently some folks don’t like to be awakened from their sleep.

How about your nonprofit enews and print newsletters?  Are they perhaps a tad … bland?

As one of my favorite nonprofit communication experts, Tom Ahern, noted in one of his newsletters, “Offending as few sensibilities as possible is absolutely not the point … being inoffensive is not your #1 priority. Raising money is.”

Quit playing it safe and start offending some people.  At the very least, get real.

PS:  If you’re not getting unsubscribes people aren’t really paying attention.

5 Responses to “Are you playing it safe with your nonprofit communications?”

  1. Oh, Pam! This is exactly why I follow you and read your blog! The only way to please everyone is to devolve into tofu . . . and frankly, who wants to support tofu! Nonprofits (and individuals) that take a stand, speak their truth and advocate for whatever cause they are a part of are the ones that make a difference. Brava, my friend!

  2. Causing people to think, feel and respond IS great marketing!

  3. […] you playing it (too) safe with your nonprofit communications? | Pamela Grow’s Grantwriting […]

  4. Tracy Moavero says:

    I think the bottom line is being clear about why your message needs to be strong, and in what ways. There are people and organizations that ruffle feathers almost for the sake of it, which I find to be a rather teen-aged mindset. Ticking people off is not the same as challenging them.

    I used to work for a Quaker organization that uses the message “War is not the answer.” They know that the phrase leads to a big question: if war is not the answer, then what is? They see “war is not the answer” as a statement of belief, but also as an invitation for people to join them in exploring what the alternatives are and may be.