Today’s blog post marries the old show-biz adage “timing is everything” and the cliched saying “patience is a virtue.”
When some amazing piece of news regarding your organization develops, human nature tells us to shout it from the rooftops. Draft a press release! Post it on social media! Call the newspaper!
Those instincts are understandable. But there’s one thing to remember: news is only new once. You can only make a major announcement one time before it’s old hat. It’s important to have all your ducks in a row before making the big announcement.
What ducks, you ask?
Suppose you’ve just booked a major A-list celebrity for your annual gala. It stands to reason that you want to make the big announcement the minute the ink is dry on the contract. But if tickets aren’t yet on sale for the event, it’s better to hold off.
Imagine this — Barbra Streisand is performing at your benefit! You finalize the deal in January. You announce it on your website, post it on social media and crow to every press outlet in town. And in each of these communications, you end with the whimper of, “tickets on sale in July!”
You’ll get eyes to read your announcement. You’ll get people to click on your link like never before. (It’s Barbra, after all.) But they can’t do anything. They were all excited about your big news and you couldn’t channel that excitement into an action.
In July, when tickets are on sale, you make the announcement again, through all the same channels.
“I think I already knew that,” your customer thinks, as she decides not to click on the link for more information.
The truth is, you can’t make the announcement a second time. The first time, you were announcing Barbra. The second time, you were merely reiterating Barbra and making a sales pitch for tickets. It’s a less effective piece of communication because you didn’t have the restraint to hold the big news back until you were ready to capitalize on that big news.
The same principle holds true for fundraising. If you have a piece of news that you know will interest your constituents, don’t announce it until a development campaign is in place.
Did your Executive Director win a major award? Announce it in conjunction with a “congratulations” giving appeal.
Did you reach a milestone within your mission (saving 2,000 dogs; serving 500 meals; housing 10,000 homeless)? Before you draft the web page announcing it, decide how an appeal will dovetail into the story.