The 10 Commandments for Optimizing Fundraising Success, Part 3
Gaffny then shared his secret weapon that leverages all the human motivators and is "guaranteed to dramatically lift response, increase retention and increase revenue" — using multiple stamps on the reply device.
8. People give to solve problems, not celebrate solutions
More times than not, the negative spin on a story produces better fundraising results than the positive spin.
"Negative imaging works much better because people give to solve problems, not support successes," Gaffny said.
He provided a case study from girls advocacy group Girls Inc. Girls Inc. rolled out two versions of a direct-mail piece in an A/B test, one with a "Girls Can't" theme — describing stereotypes of what girls can't do — and one with a "Girls Can" theme — debunking those stereotypes and reinforcing that girls can do anything boys can do.
In the end, the "Girls Can't" (negative spin) was the winner, receiving a 27 percent higher response rate, 12 percent higher average gift and 18 percent more revenue per thousand.
9. Don't reinvent the world — the world's not sitting around waiting for you to reinvent it
Run with the winners, Gaffny said. They are winners for a reason, after all — they're good at raising funds. Don't always go looking for reasons to pick them apart.
"Warren Buffet said it best … 'There's something about human nature that we want to pick the flowers and water the weeds," Gaffny said.
Gaffny said to proceed with caution when you hear phrases such as:
- "I know that works every time, but — insert one — the board/the donors/I am sick of seeing it."
- "I know that works, but I think we need to try to be more creative."
"If something keeps working, keeping sending it for 10, 20, 30, 40 years," Gaffny said. "But don't be afraid to tweak it to see what [might work better]. You never know what may help bump response even more."