Those annoying pop-up forms that hover over web content do indeed work to build email lists.

Asking your email list for money in an appeal will raise more money than sending a cultivation message.

Resending the same e-appeal that someone didn’t open (AKA ignored) the first time will usually yield 1/3 of the original appeal’s results.

Which brings me to  a philosophical question. Just because a tactic works for short-term gain, should we do it?

I’m in the business of building relationships with donors. But I also have to raise money. Lots of it. This often puts be smack dab in the middle of this philosophical conundrum.

I believe and know (from hard metrics) that cultivating a file raises increases retention, raises more money in the long-term and creates better good will with donors. But hitting people over the head with asks raises more money in the short-term.

Non profits need leaders in charge of budgetary and financial decisions must acknowledge and respond to this fork in the road. What decision will your non profit make? Will you create churn and burn relationships that rely heavily on expensive acquisition that’s no longer sustainable? Or will you create deep relationships that rely heavily on cultivation and might take years to pay off?

It’s a hard question for leaders to answer. But I sure know the answer I want to hear.