Create Donors — Not Addicts
So if you can generate a successful response rate from a list of potential donors without the use of premiums, you should do so. But it’s difficult to recruit new donors from the lists of organizations that already depend on premiums without using a premium of your own.
That’s why some of the most successful fundraising programs use a two-tier approach that first taps those lists that don’t require premiums. And once the source of non-premium lists is tapped out, they reach out to premium-based lists with a premium-based offer. Such programs allow organizations to tap into the premium market without corrupting their non-premium donors.
Too many organizations use a premium offer for all their donor-acquisition efforts, even to lists that could generate sufficient results without it. By including such lists within their premium campaigns, these organizations are contaminating these donors … thereby increasing their costs to recruit and keep them, and driving down average donations and retention rates.
So before you choose to addict donors to that cuddly teddy bear or notecards printed with Norman Rockwell paintings, be sure to thoroughly explore your non-premium options, and then use premiums cautiously and only when necessary.
Jim Hussey is president of Adams Hussey & Associates. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.