Fundraising Lessons From the Rug Store
Last week, we had the recently uncovered, original oak living room floor that had been hidden under carpeting for a decade or two refinished. While the sanding, staining and varnishing was taking place, I did some online shopping for a rug to put in the room once it was completed.
What I found was a great lesson in Fundraising 101 — how to convert inquiries to donors.
The website I landed on after some Goggling and such claimed to feature 300,000 different rugs. But simple navigation got me quickly to the type I wanted, in the color family of my choice. I explored and ended up bookmarking the rug I wanted — but I did not place an order.
And then the learning began and the rug merchant …
Stayed front of mind. It seems that everywhere I've gone online for the last week, I've seen ads for this rug-selling website. It hasn't felt like stalking — no three ads on one page. But when I went to Yahoo, there was an ad. Same with CBS News, Boston Business Journal, Facebook and a local hiking website. As I continued to think about buying a rug, I couldn't help but think about this website. It became my "only" choice simply because it was always top of mind.
Lesson: Don't ignore your prospects. You don't have to overwhelm them — just find a way to remain in their minds.
Stuck with what I was interested in. Most of the ads I saw featured the rug in the style and color I had bookmarked. Out of 300,000 choices, this rug merchant figured out that I liked that one (not too hard since I bookmarked that page), so it kept it front and center. I'd estimate fewer than 15 percent of the ads showed a different style and color — and those were always similar in terms of style.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.