I’m Jen Love. And I am an Agent of Good.
In 2009 I was an undercover Agent, and I will share some of what I learned a little later in this disclosure and debrief. In 2010, I promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about my life as an Agent of Good. Central to the Agents of Good manifesto is transparency, as you’ll also read in a moment. And I promise to change from Undercover Agent to Agent Provocateur: another guiding principle for Agents of Good is to challenge and transform how charities work with agencies and consultants.
In collaboration with my other operatives, Agent John and Agent Mark we embrace our mission with a full and complete commitment to collective leadership (much love and respect to David Pecault) in Agents of Good.
At Agents of Good you deal only with the principals. We roll up our sleeves and dig in to strategize, develop, execute and analyze your campaigns. If we were Air Canada we would never “oversell” the seats. We don’t have a giant assembly line dedicated to drumming up new business running through our…er…office. Because we don’t have an office. We have offices everywhere thanks to smartphones, webcams and Skype. We aren’t hunting or poaching clients. We want to work with people who want to collaborate. And you’re finding us. Because you want to change how you work too.
I’ll come back to how we commit to transparency at Agents of Good, but first I have to talk about the 2 ½ words that are changing how your donors connect to you: multi-channel fundraising. Agents of Good is all about good direct marketing fundamentals and donor-centred approaches. We respond to our clients with customized, thoughtful and integrated solutions. Nothing comes “off the shelf” – see above, we don’t have any shelves. Everything comes from our experience, our heart and your passion.
You give us your challenge or opportunity and we give you the best solution. Period.
Transparency. Here goes. We don’t know everything. We know a lot. Loads of experience and great gut instinct. We invite you to challenge us. To ask…“why”? And we’ll ask you too.
You don’t need to know us for long to realize that we get a little frustrated with organization centred fundraising. “Oh, Jen, we can’t do a customized thank-you letter for that campaign-specific monthly donor conversion because our receipts are those perf-off ones that are pre-printed at the top.” “Hmmm…why is that?” “Because it’s easier to process the gifts. But we get it out in less than 2 weeks.”
OK. Stop. Here’s where Agents growl under our breath and explain that your current receipt is a transaction, not a thank-you. And sending it in 2 weeks doesn’t make it any better. It’s still a transaction, not a feeling. You need a real thank-you letter.
So, we get frustrated with organization-centred fundraising. As part of my undercover work in 2009, I confronted something even worse. And it makes me throw up in my mouth every time. Agency-centred fundraising. This is when you pay your consultant a retainer for “web strategy and updates” but mostly they post static PDFs of your printed newsletters. With your donor-centred fundraising hat on, what would your donors think of that?
Is that fair? OK what else do you have to show for it? A “Latest News” that section that is 6 weeks, or even worse, 6 months, old. A website that tells your visitors (do you have any? Oh, right, your consultant tracks your web traffic and you haven’t heard anything about it for ages) your mission statement and lists your Board of Directors but doesn’t show your donors what you do every day. Or an annual report or direct mail package that does talk about you, but the creative treatment could also apply to a hospital, or a health charity, or pretty much anything else.
See, Agent Provocateur. I promised.