Have you read any Proust? His voluminous novel contains many unsentimental thoughts about friendship and love. Among them is the idea that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.
The constituents in your database who are not engaged are not the ones who write nasty letters. They’re not the ones who give you a big thumbs-down on your survey. They’re not the ones who criticize the food at your gala dinner. They’re not the ones who tell your phone campaign callers never to call again.
Nope. Your non-engaged constituents are the ones you never hear from. The ones who chuck out your mailings unopened. The ones who ignore the invitation to participate in a survey. The ones who have never attended an event. The ones who never answer the phone.
If your school or organization is typical, a good-sized portion of your database falls into this category. There’s money in identifying who is truly not engaged, and therefore not worth wasting resources on.
The ones who are moved to criticize you, the ones who have opinions about you, the ones who want to be contacted only a certain way — ah, they’re different.
The future belongs to those who can tell the difference.