Wikipedia’s two big fundraising fails — you might be doing it too

Like everyone who benefits from Wikipedia, you probably saw the recent Wikipedia fundraiser. You probably should have donated. But most likely you didn’t.

And that’s partly Wikipedia’s fault.

The Neuromarketing shows us why at The Big Mistake Most Non-Profits Make.

Let’s take a look at the two serious errors the Wikipedia campaign made. Because a lot of other fundraisers make these very same mistakes. Here’s some messaging from Wikipedia:

Wikipedia-fundraiser

The two errors, according to Neuromarketing, are negative social proof and low-dollar anchoring.

Negative social proof

When I see “tiny percent” in this context, [it] lets me breathe a sigh of relief, because I know that as a non-donor I’m part of the massive 99%+ who don’t donate a penny. Whew!

Telling donors that hardly anyone is giving tells them one thing more than anything else: Not giving is normal behavior. If you don’t give, you’re not doing anything unusual.

You give the permission not to give.

Anchoring

The anchor effect is simply explained: the first number you see affects your subsequent behavior…. The low anchoring continues with the comment that if every current viewer gave $3, they would meet their goal in an hour.

The Wikipedia campaign throws out $3 and $15. As you know, average gifts online generally fall somewhere between $50 and $100. Not for Wikipedia, I’ll bet. Because they’ve anchored at such a low amount.

Your fundraising should always do these two things:


  • Show that giving is what everybody does. (Of course, not “everybody” gives to anything. But everybody in some defined group does. That’s who you’re talking to!)
  • Mention donation that are at or higher than what you know you can expect donors to give.


Comments

4 responses to “Wikipedia’s two big fundraising fails — you might be doing it too”

  1. Yes, I think their opening sentence is great!

  2. Yes, I think their opening sentence is great!

  3. Oops – hit post by accident. What I meant to say was yes, BUT I think their opening sentenceS were great.

  4. Oops – hit post by accident. What I meant to say was yes, BUT I think their opening sentenceS were great.

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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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