Who hates address labels? Not most donors

Many organizations object to using incentives in fundraising (freemiums; things like address labels) because they’re “tacky” or “lowbrow” or “out of date.”

Those are subjective labels that should never guide your thinking. If your reason for not using incentives is like that, it’s a symptom that you’re trapped in your own mind, not in donors’ minds.

Because incentives can work. Not always or for everyone — but it’s a tactic everyone should at least consider.

Here’s a breath of common sense from the Hilborn blog, at What’s the problem with incentive led fundraising?

Using incentives should be seen as door openers. Conversation starters. Icebreakers. They don’t define your fundraising. They simply help it.

You may think they’re utterly embarrassing. You may believe you’d never donate to any organization that sent them to you. You may have spoken a vow that you’d never be responsible for creating more address labels.

Donors — all of them except for a handful of articulate complainers — see things differently.

Incentives might work for you. It’s crazy and irresponsible to rule them out unless you specifically know they don’t work for you.

More on this topic: Should you consider address labels in your fundraising?


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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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About the blogger

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.