Premiums and Paid Products Spotlight: The Top 10 Premiums for 2013
Comparing the first quarter of 2013 to 2012 and 2011 reveals some interesting trends right away. In 2011, 17.5 percent of fundraising mail used premiums. That sank by 6 percent in 2012, to 16.4 percent, before climbing to 22.2 percent in 2013 — that represents an overwhelming 35 percent growth in the first quarter of this year.
In other words, nonprofits are speaking out in favor of premiums in 2013, so they must be working.
Our hunch at Who’s Mailing What! is that premiums have made a comeback in part because fundraisers have begun to offer more relevant premiums that donors not only appreciate, but even want.
Getting back to that reciprocity principle, its true application is when there’s an equal balance on both sides — nonprofits want the gifts (donations) and donors want the gifts (the premiums). No longer are premiums simple throw-ins that a donor may think are cool or cute. Instead, it’s often something that is truly useful in a donor’s day-to-day life as well as connects the donor to the cause in a tangible way.
When you glance at that list of top premiums in 2013, immediately you notice that these are relevant, useful gifts. The most common premium in 2013 is a book! (So much for not treating the donor with intelligence.) For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the book “The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices” to prospective donors, which serves to connect them more deeply to the cause as well as offer useful information.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund offers the book “Dreams Unfulfilled: Stories of the Men and Women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial” for any gift more than $20. Again, that’s a genuine connection between the nonprofit and the donor that can have a lasting, beneficial effect.