I Have Fallen Behind on My Homework

Production Solutions
Industry Pubs

We all must pan for gold in the inundation of great content that’s out there.

I was on a flight to L.A. last weekend, so I planned ahead and packed a stack of nonprofit and direct marketing industry publications that have been piling up on the side of my desk over the past few months. Year-end 2013 and the beginning of 2014 has been a busy time at PS Digital with on-boarding new clients, refining the PS Digital service offerings and ramping-up our team of experts. I knew there were lots of interesting and information-rich articles to read, but every time I attempted to pick up a publication and dive in, something pressing redirected my attention. So, this trip I promised myself that I would finally get caught up…and I did.

Continuing “Self- Education”

I know I am not alone in being behind in my “continuing self-education:” keeping current with the colossal amount of valuable content out there – whether it is in printed journals and magazines, or online blogs and newsletters. I don’t know about you, but I am literally inundated with content.

Content marketing is our friend – and our enemy. The volume is overwhelming and yet, those times you put it off, you have relief knowing that when you have to shut off and focus on the work at hand, rest assured, there will be another article or similar blog post coming in the next few days. However, there are those articles or posts that stand out as so unique, that if missed or delayed may determine the difference between falling behind or staying ahead of the curve in knowing what your clients, colleagues – or competitors – are doing, thinking, wanting or needing.

Panning for Gold

The best solution to the problem is not to give it up altogether or fall too far behind, but rather, to hone your “filter” and sift through all that content in order to find the gold nuggets (not the gravel) that matter most to your mission or bottom line.

Here are some gold nuggets (a.k.a. important industry trends) I discovered while sifting through recent publications on my trip…

  • There was an excellent article in the latest issue of Fundraising Success (FS) magazine about multichannel fundraising by Angela Struebing. She makes a great case for “working it” from all angles.
  • FS also featured a great byline from Karin Kirchoff of MINDset Direct and Jeff Regen of WETA on Facebook ads for fundraising and how to get started.
  • I found the February FS Spotlight feature on the 26 best practices of peer-to-peer fundraising very informative (in print only).
  • And how can we forget all of the articles and opinion pieces about the postal rate controversy in the last two months of 2013…only to learn that the Congress and the PRC are doing everything in their power to discourage us from mailing to our constituents.
  • Part of Lisa Glasser’s contribution to the February AdVents, “Succeeding in a New Era of Marketing Expectations,” included the fact that marketers need to adjust to mobile being the new normal, which got me to thinking… why is the nonprofit community so slow in responding to this trend? I’ll save that rumination for a Right Hook blog post another day!
  • I have gone back to read so many choice Agitator blog posts which guarantee to push the readers’ comfort level, and challenge the fundraising community to become better fundraisers. I found the recent post: “Donor Digital Goes Secret Shopping” regarding the good, the bad, and the ugly about tracking all interaction from online donations for six months, absolutely fascinating. To learn more you can read it here.
  • All of these articles reinforced the February news story entitled: “29 Game-Changing Insights from the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2014 Washington Conference” that can be found in our very own PS Insider.  In fact, my team has made the direct marketing professional’s life easy by creating the DM Industry News Hub that automatically feeds in articles from our favorite news sources on a daily basis.

An Apology…Followed by a Challenge

So, to all of my industry colleagues who are so generous with their knowledge and took the time to write these wonderful articles, I thank you. I am sorry it took me so long to get caught up. I promise that I won’t let the sheer volume paralyze me again.

To the rest of my readers, join me in making the commitment to dedicate 10 – 15 minutes a day to keep up with what’s going on in our industry and the emerging trends. It’s not only good for business, but if you consider it homework in “continuing self-education,” you will be a better professional for it.