Focus On: Upgrading Donors: Be Persistent, Not Pushy
To * or not to *?
On the reply form, you need to suggest several dollar amounts. This can be based on a) a simple string from low to high or b) a computer-generated string from low to high based on the donor’s previous history. Either way, one technique is to put an asterisk above the upgrade amount, and then repeat the asterisk below with a note such as, “We really need this amount, if you possibly can, Mrs. Jones.”
Also, you can circle the upgrade figure and draw an arrow to the note. But, alas, both of these time-honored techniques have come under suspicion in recent years. Perhaps they are just too mechanical and obvious. So you’d better test.
Also, test just putting a single dollar amount on the reply form. Will that depress results? Probably not. If the amount is too high, the donor will write a check for a lesser amount. But that lesser amount might be higher than it would have been without the suggestion of a higher amount.
If you do fundraising by phone, meet with your outbound telemarketing agency and talk to them about the use of suggested dollar amounts in the phone script. This is effective for just about any campaign, and the more specific the campaign, the better it will work. For example, never call a donor and just ask her to renew her membership. Ask her to renew her membership, BECAUSE …
The “because” equation
This brings me, finally, to a very simple but useful technique. I’ll leave it up to you to work out the details, but here’s the concept. Never write: “Mrs. Jones, I’m asking you to give a gift of $50 today.” Never. Instead, write: “Mrs. Jones, I’m asking you to give a gift of $50 today, because … “ And nail the “because.” Without a good “because,” none of this stuff will work very well.