Why You Need Different 'Prices' for Donor Asks
Recently, we were asked why we at Veritus, as relationship-oriented people, use the word “price” in our discussion of creating donor offers at different price points.
The question appropriately suggested that the word “price” belongs over in the commercial world and not on the nonprofit side because. on that side, we do not want to commercialize or denigrate the things of the heart and mission that happen there.
The definition of the word “price” is the amount of money expected, required or given in payment for something.
In fundraising, a donor parts with money when he or she perceives that the “price” being “paid” is worth what happens when the money is used. The donor is giving a sum of money for something, and it is right for him or her.
This is a key concept that you, as a major gifts officer (MGO), should pay attention to when designing asks for your caseload donor. What is right for the donor as it relates the amount you propose to ask for?
In all of our training and writings, Jeff and I have said that you need to know where you are going when you do an ask. You need to make sure the ask matches the donor’s passions and interests, that the amount — or price — and gift plan is right, and that the timing of the ask is right.
So, hold that thought.
Have you ever noticed, out there in the commercial world, how pricing is used? I am sure you have. But I am asking you to become a student of it.
Notice that when you buy an airline ticket you can buy a seat in the back of the plane for one price, in the more leg room space for another price, in the more leg room plus some “extra stuff” space for yet another price and finally first class at the ultimate price. It’s all the same plane, same time, same destination, but just different experiences.
Or, when you are buying a computer, there is this one with these two features for this price, then that one with two additional features for that price or even a third choice with additional features for a larger price.
Or, in the department store, the jacket or blouse at one price and a different brand of the same thing at a higher price.
These commercial folks are giving us choice. And if you study how you interact with those choices, you will learn a lot about what you should present to your caseload donors so they can make a choice.
What I am suggesting here is that, when making an ask, you should have a firm offer to a donor at a specific ask amount (price) that will accomplish the core things that the donor values. That is basic.
But I am also suggesting that you should be prepared for alternate “prices” and offers up and down.
I am working with a client now on a core ask with an ask amount of $500,000, which will accomplish three things. We also have an enhanced ask for $750,000 that will accomplish the original three things plus two additional items. We are also prepared to state what a gift of $300,000 will do.
So, same basic ask that matches the donor’s passions and interests and one we are convinced is a perfect match, but three “prices” with three different scenarios on what will get done.
Try looking at your larger asks in this way. It is good to have options, especially with your “A” level donors.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.