DOROT's Objective: Think Like the Donor
The six coupons represent different donation amounts, e.g., “1 Week: I have enclosed $36, the cost of one week of kosher food and friendship for a homebound Jewish elder.” This particular coupon contains a cartoon drawing of one shopping bag, whereas the $180 coupon, good for five weeks, shows five bags.
The recipient is instructed to check the amount of her gift in the ask string, place a removable four-color sticker on the appropriate coupon and send the entire form back to DOROT. Her choices: $36 (one week of food), $72 (two weeks of food), $180 (five weeks of food), $360 (10 weeks of food) and other amount, with copy that reads: “I have enclosed $____ to provide kosher food and friendship to a homebound Jewish elder.”
“The reason why we chose those specific [ask amounts] is that, in Hebrew, every one of the letters has a numerical equivalent,” Sukol affirms. “The Hebrew number for ‘life’ is 18. It’s a typical thing in Jewish giving, whether you’re giving someone a wedding gift or donating to charity, to give in multiples of $18. We obviously didn’t want to start off at $18 because it was too low, so we opted for $36.”
The only challenge then was to determine precisely how much food could be purchased for each ask amount, Sukol says. The ask-string and meal-coupon strategy proved successful, according to results, increasing its average gift from $35 to $40. In the prior control, DOROT had asked donors to sign the meal coupons and send them back — a tactic that proved only marginally effective.
“A lot of [donors] were ripping the meal coupons off the form and keeping them,” Sukol shares. “We didn’t want that. We wanted [donors] to send back the entire sheet. People were sort of missing the point there. But when we added the sticker, it changed the way people interacted with the coupons.”