This week, we welcome back Sally Grantham from partner ACS Technologies to the Vanco blog. Sally reminds us it's important to match messages about giving to today's audiences.
I miss Oprah.
No, it’s not seeing people in hysterics over her “Favorite Things.” It’s the format of the show. Way before DVRs, I would set the VCR for Oprah when she aired shows that interested me because they offered a focused hour on one theme. She talked about a range of topics — everything from health items (we have all been on the weight journey alongside her) to family matters — but my favorites were when she would dig deep into a timely subject.
Today, if there is a movie based on a real-life event, the actors and actresses involved make their press tour through the different daytime talk shows. They do a short segment giving you the joyous highlights of how moving it was to be a part of documenting this piece of history. But that’s about all you get. I want more.
Oprah would spend a whole hour — or sometimes a double episode — diving deep. If she did a show about a movie, she would bring out the real people the story was about. The actors and actresses would sit on the couch for a deeper conversation about the research it took to bring the topic to life. It was a study in what made that production special. Individuals would spend a whole hour talking about their music, their book or their journey.
To me, that type of depth isn’t there today. I know I’m talking daytime television — not news media. But to me, this is symbolic of the average American life. We no longer have the same attention span. We don’t dig deep for an hour on one subject. Family and friends send text messages, not emails. People communicate in a set of 140 characters on Twitter or a photo on Instagram. Many people now spend the time in a doctor’s office waiting room scrolling social media instead of reading a magazine or book.
While we can work on our own habits, we also have to be aware that this is representative of society. We need to meet individuals where they are and communicate in the methods they choose to get the point across.
This is one reason why all the technology changes around giving are so important. Online giving offers people the ability to set a recurring gift, quickly and easily, and then walk away. Text giving is a new method that also takes advantage of current communication preferences. With just a few clicks, the act of giving is completed.
In addition, communication around giving should be clear and succinct. You should frequently share about giving opportunities, results and methods. Use email, social media and your website in addition to bulletins and announcements. There are still times when Oprah’s in-depth interview style works well, even in today’s faster paced world, but communicating about giving requires brevity and frequency. As is true of the giving methods themselves, you want to make sure the language and the process match modern expectations.