A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away | Sharpe Group
Posted December 15th, 2022

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Star Wars fans will recognize these words from the opening scroll, before the dark side reveals itself. It can also have significance to those of us who are experienced and tenured marketing and development professionals.

Impactful communication channels have evolved significantly since “a long time ago,” from classic print and broadcast to today’s highly segmented digital and mobile channels. Today, some consider data, and particularly behavioral data, as the dark side, with its privacy and intrusion concerns.

We all can agree it can be extremely challenging to communicate with the right donors, at the right times, with the most relevant messages, through their preferred modes. It is even more complicated with the range of available channels, compounded by the diverse composition of our donors.

Here are some suggestions to consider:


  1. Start With Data

Beginning with an audit of your database is a great first step. How is it compiled? How often is it refreshed? What are the data sources? What are the frequency counts for key variables?

If you find gaps (and most will), the best approach is to start with a test sample, approximately 10,000 records, and cleanse and enhance. Additionally, use multiple data enhancement sources to build the depth and breadth of your test file.


  1. Analyze and Assess

Capture as many behavioral points with donors as you can. This also applies to your engagement group’s interactions. Where are responses and donations coming from? Are there identifiable segments where the range of channels and messages work best?


  1. Continuously Evaluate and Evolve Your Strategies & Tactics

Use your analysis and assessments to maximize your communication and engagement efforts. Realize this is not a linear process, but a circular one. You’ll find this is reflected in our Sharpe Wholistic Solution:

  • Know Your Donors
  • Know Your Team
  • Create Your Plan
  • Implement You Plan
  • Steward Your Donors
  • Analyze Your Results
  • Rinse & Repeat!


  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

While “long time ago” channels are still effective with some donor segments, we need to communicate missions with evolving and impactful channels of today and the future.

People are increasingly expecting more visual content. Donor video storytelling should become part of your messaging mix.

Long, long ago, I worked for a cellular company when the flip phone with the block battery was the cutting edge. Back then, the futuristic vision of “handhelds” was that they would be used more as entertainment devices rather than for telephone communication. We quietly chuckled about the “Jetson” future amongst ourselves.

Well, the future is here and evolving rapidly.

The statistics on mobile messaging are staggering, as is the behavioral data capture available with it.

A mobile messaging campaign, with donor video storytelling can deepen your vesting and impact significantly.



One size does not fit all. Use the “force” of Sharpe’s Wholistic approach to get the right messages, in front of the right donors, at the right time, through their preferred channels.


Matt Czyl

Senior Consultant


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sharpe Group Blog