The Opposite of Best Practices
Also known as The Worst Practices.
Earlier today I received a curious email from a guy named Larry Arnn, the President of ultraconservative Hillsdale College. First, set aside the fact that this email actually originated from Mike Pence’s political office and that I never - ever - signed up for that mailing list.
Second, the email starts with a story about Nike pulling the Betsy Ross flag from a sneaker design at the request of Nike-sponsored athlete and activist, Colin Kaepernick. As it happens, the Ross version of the flag has been adopted by some white nationalists and other groups that object to America’s growing racial diversity, so naturally Kap took issue with their decision and, after reflecting on the insensitivity of the design choice, Nike pulled the shoe.
But in a flourish of illogical prose, Arnn tries to explain that Nike‘s decision (mind you this was made in 2019!) is another example of “the Left’s hijacking of history education”.
Third, the email goes on to encourage educators to “nurture an informed patriotism among the young if our liberty is to be preserved,” which I think means that he wants to prevent people like Kap from protesting a symbol that represents white supremacism and colonialism and has been adopted by the Three Percenters, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers, AND WOULD ALSO curtail Nike’s business’s right to COMMERCE and FREE SPEECH.
(Memo to big Lar’, those are important CLAUSES in the US Constitution.)
Finally - and this is the most embarrassing part - Hillsdale College follows this ultraconservative race-baiting nonsense with a request for a $76 DONATION - after which they would send me a “3' x 5' Betsy Ross Flag to thank you for your support.” Arnn then reminded me that “Supplies are limited, so please make your best tax-deductible gift right away”.
🤣🤣As a 20+ year professional fundraiser, it’s safe to say that this email represents the opposite of best practices. In fact, even without it’s personally offensive content (Hey Hillsdale, I am a huge Kap fan), it’s probably the worst appeal I have ever seen or received, and for the following reasons:
👉🏻It’s hostile from the jump.
👉🏻It doesn’t include my name in the greeting.
👉🏻It makes an illogical case for support (Give us money because…uh, freedom…and so we can stop…uh…speech from people we disagree with. Yay America!)
👉🏻And just when I’m about to hit delete: they hit me with the consumerism.
So the next time you or your organization decide to send out an appeal for a deeply held personal belief, tick the following boxes 1st:
make sure you’re sending it to the right people,
make sure that your message makes sense, and
please - PLEASE - don’t sell me anything.