Premiums and Paid Products Spotlight: The Top 10 Premiums for 2013
Nonprofit mail and premiums have teamed up successfully for decades, kind of like Tango and Cash — except that donors often will only give “cash” if the nonprofit will “tango” by offering a quality, soon-to-be-appreciated gift or “premium.”
(Note that I’m not speaking about “freemiums,” which are free gifts inside the mail piece, such as address labels or a bookmark. Instead, this is a discussion on the promised gift to arrive in the mail after a donation has been given.)
“Our donors are smarter than that … more so, they’re above that,” you may counter. But as any direct marketer can tell you, human behavior is a funny and predictable thing. The reciprocity principle, first of all, plays a significant role here. As Wikipedia declares, it’s “responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.”
“You’re offering me a stuffed animal if I give you $30? Game on.”
Of course, not everyone agrees that premiums are the way to go. Fundraising expert Roger Craver recently declared in The Agitator that “every direct response fundraiser who can count eventually comes to the realization that reliance on premiums to boost short-term acquisition response rates is a long-term prescription for poor retention and lousy lifetime value.”
Roger is not exactly shy in his pronouncements. For example, he equated premiums to “crack cocaine” in this screaming headline.
A debate in the comments sections soon ensued, led by a fellow from Australia who said, “many orgs are having a lot of success in getting premium recruited donors to commence a monthly gift very quickly after 1st gift.” Another mentioned that there’s a big difference between a bad premium and a good one.
So, who’s mailing what?
All that being said, let’s dive into the data from Who’s Mailing What! In other words, let’s look at what’s really happening. Who’s Mailing What! is the most complete library of direct mail and e-mail in the world and tracks more fundraising mail than any other database.