The "Jen Promotional"​ Scam -- or Gem -- and its Application to Fundraising

Posted on Apr 04, 2019 by Jon Dize - Funding the Mission

Recently I posted an article on Linkedin that I would like to share with our TLSP friends, schools, and churches as well.

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article about a promotional/junk mail effort sent to pregnant women around the country from someone named "Jen". It appeared to be a handwritten note from a friend named Jen who provided some free gift cards. Sounded innocent enough.

However, the effort was discovered to be an elaborate, personalized marketing program aimed at mothers-to-be by Utah-based Mothers Lounge LLC. Apparently, it looked so real that it caused a bit of an outrage when recipients couldn't find out who "Jen" was and some even asked local law enforcement to investigate.

While the old adage says that any PR is good PR, I will leave it to experts like Tom Ahern and Anthony Juliano to debate the virtues of good vs. bad PR. In no way am I advocating this product or company. However, I do think there are applications from the recipient reaction to the "Jen Campaign" for nonprofit fundraising efforts. See below:

Again, I am not advocating what this company did, but I do think the thought behind the effort was fantastic and worth a save in the example folder for our fundraising cohort.

What do you think?

Photos from the Wall Street Journal article