Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Selling real 'benefits'

I was catching the subway yesterday in Toronto when I saw an advertisement by the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) for their weekly metropasses.

I shook my head in disbelief when I was reading the respective 'benefits' of getting a weekly pass. I'm thinking some creative guy in an ad agency was clutching at straws when he came up with this as the 4th benefit listed..

"Access through Automatic Entrances"

What the?

Now correct me if I'm wrong but even if I have a token rather than a weekly pass I can go through the automatic entrance. But seriously, why the hell would that convince me to get a weekly pass?

It wouldn't.

It did at least get me thinking however about how charities sell 'benefits'.

And I have to say that I'm often amazed and disappointed when charities say things like this to people..

"As a benefit of becoming a monthly donor, we'll send you quarterly newsletters, and we'll ensure you don't get mailed any further appeals".

Huh? How the bloody hell are those benefits?

For starters, a newsletter is not a benefit. Most charity newsletters are rubbish/garbage/crap (use whichever vernacular depending on where you are in the world).

Simply because they aren't personal, they try to do a million things badly rather than a few things well and focus mainly about the organization rather the people that matter: donors and benefactors.

Before you lambast me for such a big statement, there are of course exceptions. But they are that, exceptions. And trust me I've looked at hundreds of newsletters all over the world.

Additionally, getting less appeals/contact is not a benefit. In fact it's downright stupid on the charities behalf as monthly donors (excluding certain types like those recruited on the street) are the best responders to appeal mailings.

That's beside the point. Benefits don't have to be physical, tangible things you 'get'. In fact more often than not they are intangible.

For example if I support a cancer organization who funds cancer research, benefits may include:

- Helping support world class research that may lead to a breakthrough in

- Insuring the safety and health of myself and my loved ones by supporting research that aims to cure cancer in my lifetime.

You get the point. It isn't necessarily about getting a glossy newsletter or a promise to leave me alone for the next 12 months, it's about showing me how my support will make a difference and the feeling that I get from that.


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