How putting your opinions aside can help you raise a lot more money

Unclemaynardttdmk

Does the logic of prompting people to give by sending them coins bother you?

I understand. I don’t get it either.

But here’s the thing: In many cases, it works. It works very well.

That’s right: It’s stupid, annoying, and infuriatingly illogical … and it works.

This is how you become a real fundraiser: You leave your preferences at the door. You question your logic. You ignore your pet-peeves.

Because those things don’t give you useful information about fundraising.

The true professional fundraiser keeps an open mind and a spirit of curiosity and looks at odd techniques like sending coins — and seeks the facts.

And you learn amazing things about donors. Like they respond to cashable checks. Dollar bills. Or coins, as in piece, sent by Help Heal Veterans:

Hhvpennies

The fact that they work doesn’t mean they work for everyone. In fact, sometimes they don’t really work for those who use them.

Here’s how it goes when you send money to get money:

  • Response goes up.
  • Average gift goes down.
  • Donor retention goes down.
  • Cost goes up.

Do the math. Is the lift in response big enough?. Are the hits to average gift, retention, and cost minor enough? There’s a good chance it doesn’t pencil out for you. So you don’t do it.

But maybe the numbers look promising. Then you should consider testing. Grit your teeth, hold your nose, and try it. It still might not work, but at least you’ll know it’s not right for you.

Leave the rants about the stupidity and illogic of it to the amateurs.

Be one of the professionals who works based on facts, not your opinions.

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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.

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