publication date: Oct 22, 2012
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
or loathe them, incentives for donors work.
premiums are gifts sent with the appeal. Ideally they support what's being discussed
in the campaign itself. These incentives rock at generating large numbers of
new and repeat supporters.
are back-ended incentives. Donate now, sign this, provide your phone number and
we'll send you a key ring/bookmark/tote bag as a badge of honor, to show people
how much you care about us. These also work really well
at getting people to do what you want them to do.
But is it authentic?
always questions posed about the authenticity of this approach, and also the
long-term net effect. In my experience, the latter is a no-brainer. Premium or
incentive recruited donors invariably bring you in more net income. While they
may not be quite as valuable long-term, this is far outweighed by the sheer
number of them you can find in the first place.
isn't an article about why you should consider incentives in your fundraising.
I want you to consider the type of incentive to offer.
it; wouldn't we all love to offer real
incentives? The opportunity not only to garner more support but at the same
time offer supporters the chance to get closer to your work? That experience
will almost invariably result in greater long-term support.
An incentive with meaning
we were able to create recently with a campaign we ran with an Australian
client. The challenge was recruiting new child sponsors ($43 a month) online,
something the organization had only dabbled in to that point.
We prospected for new supporters using several sources:
website re-targeting (running online ads to people who had recently visited the
organization's website), display advertising, paid Google AdWords and some
The key with any digital acquisition is trying to find a
‘hook'. What's the one thing that will entice someone, in the space of a few
seconds to decide to part with over $500 a year? This isn't face-to-face or
telephone fundraising where we have the opportunity of a detailed conversation
to explain the benefits of becoming a child sponsors.
We have literally a few seconds.
So the decision was made to offer people the chance to win
"the trip of a lifetime." Sponsor a child today, and you have the opportunity
to go and visit them. Simply tell us in 25 words or less why you chose to
sponsor a child.
The campaign was a rousing success. We recruited 48 new
child sponsors, with the campaign breaking even in just over 10 months. Any
acquisition that makes a profit in the first year is remarkable.
Incentives work, and usually really well. The challenge is
to keep them real and to encourage repeat behaviour (i.e., ensure premium
recruited supporters stick around).
We know how strong child sponsorship is as a retention tool,
so the fear that incentive-led supporters don't hang around has been somewhat
allayed. Based on that experience with child sponsorship, we're confident all
of these sponsors will stay on board.
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat
earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good
causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world
focused on digital, direct response and campaigning .