It doesn't feel good to look at something that should reflect you and not see yourself. My alma mater, Haverford College, earlier this year sent me a bad email appeal. I lamented this poorly led, "all about us" missive. Here's what it said:
January 1 is New Year's Day, according to the Gregorian calendar. Sometime between January 21 and February 21 is the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. Many cultures celebrate the New Year on the day of the vernal equinox, which is also when the ancient Babylonians used to celebrate it. April is the month of the Nepali, Thai, and Cambodian New Year's celebrations, among others. And at Haverford, when the calendar hits July 1, it is the new fiscal year!
The last fiscal year was one of unprecedented success for the Haverford Fund, with 52% of our generous and loyal alumni contributing $4.2 million dollars!
The 2007-2008 fiscal year promises to be an exciting year on campus, with the arrival and inauguration of Steve Emerson ‘74 as president. We hope to show him how committed the alumni body is to the current life of the College by sustaining and improving upon last year's great success by increasing our participation to 53%!
Why do I care about these dates, the fiscal year or the development department? What does this have to do with me? I looked at this appeal and I did not see myself. I did not recognize the do-gooder, warm institution I remember.
Later in the year, Haverford sent me a fantastic mailed appeal this week that is gold-standard marketing. I looked at this and I saw myself; literally.
You can almost see the line over to Katya ‘89, who is marketing for good. Open it up and it says, "Haverfordians make a difference in the world through their support." And it asks me to support the education of people like them. It's about me, people I can help, and the difference we all make. I love this appeal because it connects to the reader literally and emotionally. It's like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of myself - and my aspirations.
What's good: focusing on the donor. What's bad: focusing on yourself.