How about a money-back guarantee for donors?

In the commercial world, money-back guarantees are everywhere. They are a cost of doing business if you want to sell anything to anyone, and they’re increasingly gutsy. We see guarantees of double (even triple) your money back and other elaborate guarantees that might make you ask how those who make these guarantees stay in business.

The odd little secret about guarantees is that very few customers ever invoke them and ask for their money back. Most customers don’t want their money back; they want the thing they bought to do what it claims it does. So an amazing guarantee isn’t the risk it looks like.

Instead, it’s the final objection-overcomer: What if I buy this thing, and it turns out to be no good? The guarantee gives you an out. You can buy the thing without that risk.

That’s why guarantees work.

So why don’t we have them in fundraising?

We know that one of the most common objections to charitable giving is How do I know this will do what they say it will do?

Imagine overcoming that objection by telling would-be donors this:

We will keep you fully informed about the difference your donation makes. If at any time you are not satisfied that your gift is accomplishing great things, contact us and we will refund it in full.

Think about it. While you likely aren’t saying this out loud, you already have this guarantee. If a donor called you and said she had second thoughts about her donation and would like it refunded, you’d comply with her wishes. Right? I have yet to meet a nonprofit that answers that with a no.

So why not put it in writing?

You will likely bring in more donors. And the risk to your revenue is nearly zero.


Comments

2 responses to “How about a money-back guarantee for donors?”

  1. Katherine Boyce Avatar
    Katherine Boyce

    I think I’ve seen this done in Habitat For Humanity’s European fundraising.

  2. Katherine Boyce Avatar
    Katherine Boyce

    I think I’ve seen this done in Habitat For Humanity’s European 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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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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