Saturday, February 7, 2009

Keeping it singularly focused for best results

This goes against many fundraisers intuition, but when we ask someone to make some sort of commitment, we should keep it as singularly focused as possible.

And we know, that when we intuitively sense something, we should test it to either prove or disprove our own personal bias.

This is top of mind for me at the moment, after having delivered a Pareto Fundraising workshop yesterday here in Toronto. Invariably when I make a statement like, “you should only ask someone to do one thing, like ask for a cash donation or a monthly gift” I invariably get startled looks and there are murmurings amongst the group (probably suggesting I am just some bongkers Aussie!)

As was the case yesterday.

Again, this may seem counter intuitive. Surely if you give someone more than option that will increase the chance they will respond to at least one of them?


All of the testing we have done at Pareto Fundraising (with the very odd exception) has shown quite the opposite.

Think about it. You ask someone 2, 3 or 6 times throughout a letter to give you a cash donation. You back it up with great copy, really strong messaging and a moving case for support.

Right down the bottom of the donation form you make a meek request for the individual to give you $10 a month?

Huh? Why should they believe you? On what basis have you convinced them to support this way?

You haven’t.

And why do we do it? Because that’s what we have always done. Refer my posting on tradition becoming destructive. And usually because you pick up 3, maybe 4 new monthly givers this way. What you don’t know is how many people you have suppressed from responding at all because guess what – you have downright confused them! And let’s face it, we as humans like to be told what to do. Hand held all the way.

Of course, with anything like this there are exceptions.

In this case the two biggest exceptions are asking someone to complete a survey and/or asking someone to take get involved in some way. In fundraising speak, an involvement device. A petition, letter to your local MP, sending back a message of hope to someone suffering from cancer.

These things work, and if done properly you can get someone to make a financial contribution and do one of the things mentioned above.

But like anything, test, test and keep testing. Oh, and don’t always believe the crazy Aussie!



John Lepp said...

It amazes me at times the amount of options some clients wish to provide on coupons or "messages" they feel MUST BE communicated in a piece. Every extra ask/message after the first one just starts to muddy the waters and it drives me crazy. One message and one ask. Well lets make that one Aussie and one crazy canuck then shall we Jonathon?

John Lepp said...

I wrote about this a bit further as well Jonathon. Thanks for the inspiration.