Monday, 8 August 2011

"Do you think they'll want my £30?"

I can't stress enough how important it is to get and use supporter feedback. And even better live feedback from people you know. As usually it will be more honest, free flowing and dare I say more useful.

At the weekend, a friend of mine was mid process of filling out a donation to a charity he supports regularly. He had barely skimmed the appeal letter before getting out his pen to donate. So far so good. Then across the kitchen I heard "do you think they'll want my £30?"

As a fundraiser, I was stunned by the question. I stopped what I was doing and walked over to him. I looked at the donation form and could see what he meant.

In bold black on the donation form was £100 and £150 and other. Now at that point a couple of things occurred to me:

  • Obviously an attempt to upgrade the gift value (very valid and often very effective)
  • Project featured in the appeal was £100 so hence the lead amount
  • Could totally see what the charity was trying to achieve and have used such techniques many times

However, what this approach didn't take in to account was how the supporter would feel.

In this case, it could be that the approach was a little heavy handed?

Upgrades can be based on a number of hooks - a good strong project is one way, also basing the increase on what a supporter has given in the past with an incremental increase built in (my friend usually gives between £30 and £50 pounds to this charity - but every time they ask). Also, a combination of the two and these are just a few ways of doing it.

People may have differing views on this and I would welcome other people's thoughts. But to me though the case for support needs to be strong and thus overt, the tactics employed should possibly utilise a little more subtlety. After all, should the supporter realise what you are doing? Should the technique create such confusion / dissonance? These questions probably should be asked of all techniques we employ.

As for my friend - he continued to give his credit card details - but as he popped the donation form in the BRE, he joked "Well, I am sure they won't send it back!" "Of course they won't", I replied. "They'll really appreciate it." trying to reassure him. But I was a little saddened that a standard technique had been executed in such a way that had potentially made a generous gift feel like a lesser gesture. And I think as fundraisers, we all need to be a bit more mindful of that.

As ever, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

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