Don’t change your strategy because of a few

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How many times has someone, usually on your staff, suggested you change strategy because of a few complaints from donors?

I once had a CEO walk into my office, throw three letters on my desk, and tell me I was going to “screw up” the direct marketing program because I had implemented a strategy out of the “norm” for this organisation and three people had taken the time to complain. I remember telling him to calm down and we would reassess the program after 6+ weeks of results. I produced a calculator and I punched in some figures. I reminded this CEO we had sent more than 200,000 pieces and three complaints hardly warranted a change in strategy.

Airline pilots do not change altitude after the first few “bumps” or moderate turbulence, so why are we, as fundraisers, told to change course based on a few complaints from a few donors? Airline pilots change altitude based on solid data including weather, reports from other aircraft, and conditions at the current altitude. The same should be true whenever we are faced with complaints or uneasiness with the direction or strategy we are implementing.

Give it time. Report and analyse. Weigh the results and then consider whether a change in direction is required.