Case Study: MEOW!
Randomness: “Having no specific pattern, purpose or objective.” Could there be another word that strikes greater dread in the hearts of nonprofit fundraisers? Sure, it’s nice to get that unexpected, random gift. But how — HOW, you fret — do you get that person to give again... and again... and...?
Such was the question facing the development staff at The Fund for Animals, which runs the 25-year-old Black Beauty Ranch sanctuary for abused and neglected animals in East Texas. A monthly giving program seemed to be the answer, but President Michael Markarian and his staff wanted something that tied in closely with the organization’s mission.
There aren’t a whole lot of ways to get innovative with a monthly giving program, but pithy campaign names are important — both for the program itself and for the giving tiers that comprise it.
So what are we looking at here? A monthly program, to be sure. An Electronically Withdrawn Monthly program that results in an Orderly way of normalizing donations. E.W.M.O.? Oh, come on ... M.E.O.W! The Monthly Electronic Orderly Withdrawal program.
There aren’t house cats at the ranch, but there are some bobcats and they probably do a little meowing, especially the little ones.
The M.E.O.W. program is broken down into 16 giving tiers, each named for the animal that a particular level of giving will support. Everything from $5 a month for a prairie dog to $10 a month for a horse, $17 a month for an oryx to $50 a month for an elephant.
“We based it on the average amount of money it costs us to care for an animal at the ranch,” Markarian says. “People can choose the type of animal they’re interested in. There are a lot of people who choose their giving level because they really like a certain type of animal, horses for example. But there also are a lot of people who just choose the giving level they’re comfortable with, no matter what animal that it’s attached to.”