An oddball way to turn your web names into web donors

You’ve probably heard of the old salesman’s tactic of asking you to do him a small favor. That predisposes you to like him, trust him, and do more for him. It’s a proven quirk of human psychology that once we help someone, we’re more likely to want to help them again.

Some new research, reported at the Neuromarketing blog (Make a Crazy Request, Close the Deal) says the tactic works even better if the initial small favor is weird:

… the experimenter asked the unwitting subjects to perform a task that was simple but unusual: to tie his shoe (offering the explanation of an injured back). The unusual tasks, even though simple and quick, had the same lift on subsequent requests as more complex ones.

Find the research here.

Many fundraisers use the small-favor principle by making sending easy, low-bar, non-donation emails. Sign a petition. Click to release funds. Share a video. These can help people become more likely to make donations later on.

What if we made those easy offers strange and memorable? Here are some ideas:


  • Send us a photo of something (make it easy like a photo of your hand).
  • Send us a certain phrase in your own handwriting.
  • Send us a sound file of you saying or singing something.

(My guess is you want these requests to be plausibly meaningful, though I don’t really know if that’s important.)

If it works the way it did in the research, it could turn nondonors into donors.

Let us know if you try it!


Comments

4 responses to “An oddball way to turn your web names into web donors”

  1. I think petitions are a great way to connect with supporters, because the petition in itself can make a difference and it’s clear the person who signs is open to offering support. However, some of the ideas above just strike me as manipulative. f I were to receive a request like one of those above, I’d be immediately suspicious. And once I realized I was being manipulated, I’d never have anything to do with the organization again.

  2. I think petitions are a great way to connect with supporters, because the petition in itself can make a difference and it’s clear the person who signs is open to offering support. However, some of the ideas above just strike me as manipulative. f I were to receive a request like one of those above, I’d be immediately suspicious. And once I realized I was being manipulated, I’d never have anything to do with the organization again.

  3. Amy Mawby Avatar

    i think the Greenpeace ‘Save Barbie’ campaign was a great example of this!

  4. Amy Mawby Avatar

    i think the Greenpeace ‘Save Barbie’ campaign was a great example of this!

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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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