The 2019 Biscuit Tragedy: What My First World Problem Says About Your Fundraising!

November 21, 2019

Has it happened to you, too?

You’ve been looking forward to something for ages. Maybe a special night out, or a vacation, or seeing that show you got tickets for last year.

And then the actual moment arrives and… It’s disappointing. It doesn’t match up with your anticipation. Or, worse, it doesn’t happen at all.

That was my experience recently. But let me back up a bit…

This past summer, me and my sweetie headed to Vermont for a vacation. We’re partial to Brattleboro, VT. It’s a small, quaint town that he first came across when he connected with a client who lived in the area. It’s home to one of my favorite used bookstores. Down the street, you’ll find my favorite special occasion restaurant, which is housed in a restored 1925 Worcester Dining Car.

The perfect spot for some R&R.

And, as it turns out, a pretty sweet spot for biscuits. During that vacation, we stumbled across a takeout joint known as the Biscuit Shed, and that’s where I tasted the best biscuit of my life.

Know that I do not say this lightly. I am a baker who came thisclose to attending pastry chef school. My biscuits are divine and I would put them up against any respectable Southerner, no hesitation. They are high, tender, light, and flakey. In short, they make the grade…and then some.

The Biscuit Shed featured these insane biscuit sandwiches. Like eggs with cheddar, bacon, grilled onions, and a smoked maple drizzle. They offered sweet biscuits served with Nutella, or honey butter, or cinnamon sugar.

And the biscuits were heavenly. They were lighter, flakier, higher, and yes, tastier than mine.

So recently, my guy and I decided to check out the fall colors in Massachusetts and Vermont and headed back to Brattleboro.

“And we’ll go to that biscuit place!” we chirped in unison.

I don’t know if you’re a foodie like my family (follow my daughters on Instagram if you are), but we could not wait to go back to the Biscuit Shed. Could. Not. Wait.

I mean, we were salivating. So much so that we decided to do lunch and breakfast there.

And finally, we pulled up. The Biscuit Shed is housed in a…well, a shed, in front of a motel. It looked dark when we parked the car, but sure enough, someone came to the window. And that’s when we realized…

This was not the Biscuit Shed. This was a Polish food truck parked where the Biscuit Shed had been.

“Oh, he moved to South Carolina a few weeks ago,” the guy running the truck informed us.

Oh, you don’t say? But he did…because it was the cold, hard truth. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. Yeah, I know. It’s a first-world problem.

I checked online. Sure enough, they were cited as “open” on both Yelp and Facebook.

It was only days later, when I looked again at Facebook, that I learned that the owner had posted that he was closing up shop and moving to South Carolina.

It was all there in a post on his Facebook page. A Facebook page that is still live and still showing a Vermont address.

**********

So why am I sharing this? Why should you care?

Simply this. Businesses cannot rely on one communications channel and neither can you. When you do, you risk alienating your best supporters.

In my work with thousands of small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations all over the world, I’ve learned that the quickest wins often come from simply asking more often. Organizations accustomed to sending one or two appeals a year transition to three, four, and even six appeals per year. And organizations that had previously only published an email newsletter invested in a print donor newsletter to their best donors. The fact is, a well-done donor newsletter can raise as much — or more — than an appeal!

An ideal mix for small to mid-sized organizations wanting to get off the events and grants treadmill is 4-6 fundraising multichannel appeals (direct mail and email), 4-6 print donor newsletters, and an email newsletter.

Implement this mix and implement it well and you’ll be raising revenue throughout the year.

I cannot stress strongly enough: use direct mail. I could point to the endless reams of statistics pointing to the efficacy of direct mail. But it boils down to this. As much as we don’t want to admit it, fundraising is, in a sense, sales. We’re selling a feeling. When I make a donation to your organization, I don’t receive anything in return. Anything but the knowledge that I’m making a difference in the world. And when we abandon direct mail, we’re losing that very tangible, tactile piece of the equation.

Remember, your donors are your friends. You wouldn’t just reach out to your friend once a year with an email or social media post to ask for money, would you?

Click here for my recipe.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Simma Gershenson November 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

Nice story – my take away though is that I want your biscuit recipe.
Sx

Pamela Grow November 21, 2019 at 6:38 pm

I got so many requests that I added it, Simma!

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