Now You’ve Read It All: Think Small
OK, that example may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but it’s not so far off of the mark.
Some fundraisers attempt to fix this problem by changing the ask to something like, “Please send us $15 to stop this catastrophe, and we’ll send you this really cute teddy bear.”
In other words, they overcome the donor’s hesitance by offering a bribe for a contribution. I’m not condemning those who use premiums to overcome the reluctance of potential donors. A few of my clients will testify that, in some cases, I’ve urged them to do just that.
Bring it home
But before succumbing to the easy solution of premiums, you should try another method when addressing “big picture” issues such as global warming, war, world hunger or deadly diseases. First, you should attempt to bring the issue down to a level that the potential donor can more easily understand, and can more easily visualize how his $15 contribution will make a difference.
Child-sponsorship organizations understand this strategy better than anyone. Can one person stop world hunger? No way. But can one person feed one child in a Third World country? Yes … that is a manageable goal. And can a single person stop global warming? No. But one person can support lobbying efforts in Congress to pass higher automobile mileage standards or other regulations that stem emissions that cause global warming.
The next time you attempt to communicate with potential donors about the “forest” of challenges that your organization wants to address, remember to take the time to point out a few of the trees.
Jim Hussey is president of Adams Hussey & Associates. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.