Asking your pledgers for more doesn’t hurt

If you have a monthly pledge giving program, I’m willing to bet you’d rather swallow a fly than send extra appeals to your pledgers.


Your reasoning, I imagine, is that sending extra appeals will violate the unwritten contract with pledgers, who give what they’re going to give and shouldn’t be prodded to do more than that. And breaking the contract will cause them to leave you in disgust. A sort of killing the goose that laid the golden egg effect.


Sounds reasonable. But it’s wrong.


Jonathon Grapsas’ blog reports a test of this very notion, at Why you should also ask your monthly donors for onetime cash gifts.


Jonathan says avoiding extra asks for pledgers is a myth. And he’s right.


He tested sending extra asks to a group of monthly donors over the course of 12 months, and here’s what he reports:

Retention rate Revenue (USD)
Pledgers who got extra asks 91.64% $1,845,990
Pledgers who didn’t get extra
asks
91.41% $1,696,880

As you’ll see, the difference in donor retention was that those who got the extra asks did slightly better — statistically insignificant in this case. But those who were asked more gave more. $149,110 (US) more.


Is this sounding better than swallowing a fly?


I’ve done similar tests. I got even better results: Significantly higher retention rates for pledgers who got extra asks. And, of course, higher revenue from the extra-asks group.


Your mileage, of course, may differ. But you really should give it a try.


Because it turns out that asking donors to donate is something like asking fish to swim or birds to sing. It’s what they do, what they want to do. Giving them the opportunity is not a rude and hurtful intrusion.


I can almost guarantee you that if you see asking for donations as a negative impact, you are under-serving your donors and under-funding your mission.


Free yourself from that prison. Begin to see fundraising as a life-changing blessing for your donors. Then you’ll do a better job. And raise more funds.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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