Don’t Ask … Don’t Get
“Well, they changed the whole strategy of the ask, and they were only asking for the difference, and then the average gift was smaller. And when they looked at what they spent and what the campaign brought in, it didn’t work,” she explains. “But they did it the wrong way … because they were afraid to ask for the full amount.”
Finally, Hines says, really knowing your members and their motivations for joining is key. Most organizations’ membership files will be made up of two basic types of supporters:
1. Those who are value minded and join simply to take advantage of the discounts, sales and other status or financial benefits of membership; and
2. Those who are naturally philanthropic and join simply to support the mission.
Knowing the difference between the two groups and which members belong to which can help an organization further tailor its upgrade campaigns.
“Even a zoo that might have a good number of members who are value-oriented is still going to have some people who are the philanthropic type,” she says. “So if you have information on what the makeup is of the membership group, then you can tailor the ask accordingly.
“For instance, we’ve done surveys where we’ve been able to look at how the person joined initially and what their most important benefit of membership is and why they joined in the first place. And we can divide those people out and say, ‘OK, here is the altruistic group who joined to support the institution, and here is the group who joined because it’s a good deal.’ So you can target your messages according to who you know your members are.”
Dana Hines can be reached via www.membership-consultants.com