What if The Sierra Club sent me a note offering to adopt a grizzly bear and watch her movements (radio collar) on a google map, or team me up with an oceanographer studying killer whales where I could access some of the recorded whale calls** ~ maybe even download a whale call as my phone ringtone! What about a $100 donation gets you access to streaming video of a mountain ascent or rainforest expedition or gorgeous raw High Def footage...
**by-product I'll bet the scientist would love to know someone cares and who knows what interesting synergies might come out of that connection
But they didn't. They sent me another tired old mailing with 13 pieces of paper to in their words (you can't make this up) "Don't let the timber industry get away with it!" Almost makes you want to give money to the timber industry! Almost.
If I could virtually duck I would because I know I just stepped on the third rail of the non profit world but the fact is this part of The Sierra Club's fundraising is broken. Oh I'm sure it works ~ and the CEO could show me in a powerpoint (no doubt) why and how the mailings work ~ raise money. But the truth is The Sierra Club like so many big charities are smack dab/safely in the middle of the road to mediocrity. One day soon/now the road is going to turn and well you know the coda. Someone has to take a bold step forward and I don't mean setting up a Twitter account or a FaceBook fanpage ~ good stuff but not bold enough.
Truth is all of fundraising is not broken especially at the grassroots. The little guys and gals, the passionates are busting their butts doing amazing things. It's the hierarchical hierarchy that gets in the way, most mean well it's just the fear of change that has literally paralyzed too many major charities.
The Sierra Club should be one of my favorite charities ~ I am passionate about saving & preserving the outdoors. And yet Sierra lost me, in fact they pissed me off -- they sold my name and because I gave them $50 once they think it gives them license to bug the heck out of me. I bet I'm not the only one. Alas I don't think I really matter to The Sierra Club, fifty bucks right -- I am sure it's a numbers game which is pretty obvious if you take the time to scroll down through the 13 page "protect our timber" mailer I scanned in below.
So what good is a rant? Well in my few minutes of brainstorming I came up with several novel ideas surely the Sierra Club could come up with some ideas too but first they'll have to stop stuffing envelopes and sitting back waiting for the paper checks to arrive! Who knows maybe whale call ringtones would go viral!
Yes the following really did come in one envelope...