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You Know What They Say About Assumptions

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Don't Get Zebras When You Need Horses

Fairly often I've had clients come to me with a project, "I need to get stories about our organization placed in the media," or "I need to set up a crowd-funding page for this project." As a consultant, I always feel like I have to ask, "What are you hoping to achieve? How do you know that's the best solution for you?"

Often - very often - those questions haven't been asked much less answered. But like a doctor prescribing treatments in the absence of a diagnoses, when you do that, you are just taking shots in the dark.

Resist the urge to skip the research and analysis stage of your planning. Oh, I know there can be a lot of external pressure to hurry up and get on Instagram or sign up for this or that new fundraising app. I'm going to let you off the hook right now - you don't have to do it all. You probably should't do it all. Only do the stuff that gets you closer to your goal.

If the group you are trying to reach is men over the age of 40, you probably don't need to be on Pinterest. If your target audience is women between the ages of 25 and 44, then have at it!

This same advice applies when you are trying to solve a problem. I once had a supervisor who was concerned about slow registration sales for a conference. Her solution was for us to send more promotional emails. I knew this had the potential for backlash if people felt inundated with emails from us so I did a little checking around. Turns out the problem was that people didn't want to travel to a city if they could not get a direct flight. Sending more emails would have been pointless and possibly harmful.

So don't skip the research and analysis part (or ask your consultant to). If you have a clear idea about your objectives and who your target audience is, you can then collect the information you need to be able to connect the dots between the two. Now you can decide on the strategies that will get you there in the shortest possible distance without costly detours.

For me, fundraising and communications go together like peanut butter and jelly – delicious & filling!

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