Wikipedia released a whole bunch of info on their ongoing campaign to raise funs from within the community. Â The infographic from David McCandless is fantastic because of the quick info communicated. Â (McCandless calls the success “Gore” but I think it’s more effective because they’ve humanized the ask.) What’s the biggest takeaway?
Guilt should never be a tool used to raise money!
Does it work? Â Sure – for the short term. Â You can even argue that guilt raises more money that gratitude but do you want to associate your brand with a negative emotion?
Imagine you’re at a party. The mood is great and the music is rolling. Quality conversation is happening all around you and connections are being made. Â The witty banter of friends carries light on the air. Then a loud interrupting announcement is made that everyone must now play board games and only board games. The announcer goes on to tell you that those who don’t play board games will really be a hindrance to everyone else. Â The vibe shifts. No longer is the merry conversation free-for-all acceptable and now it just gets weird. The audience starts asking, “Aren’t we adults here?” and “Why am I being pushed around like this?”.
This is the exact same scenario that organizations put their audiences through when they push for what they want. Â Don’t let your organization be the strange one at the party making all the rules and excluding folks from being a part of what you do. Organizations define “the online party” by setting the house rules. If you set the rules one way, you’ve got to follow through other wise it hurts your rep. Â The online reputation of your organization comes from your donors but also from those who your programs serve. Bait and switch works in the short term too, but again, is that the conscious choice you want to be making?
I’m often asked about attrition rates when it comes to donors. Â For example: In an email campaign if the attrition rate is less than 1% for all messages common thought is that you’re not emailing enough. Traditional marketing dictates that organizations push their donors to leave. Constantly piling on more and more to the donors plate. Â I would argue that as a donor I would like to engage in the ritual of story and be taken along a journey with an organization year over year. (Traditional offerings are not allowed!) Â This is why charity:water dominates September with their birthday campaign. By participating you’re adding to the story, you’re truly joining their mission. The raise millions online annually with a soft ask.
So what can we learn from this? (and there is a ton of data here, take a look)
- Banner ads are fickle – there’s not a standard approach to making a great pitch. This is great evidence that money can be better spent on anything than these. If you decide to use banner ads they have to constantly be tweaked to get your message right. Their average response ranges from .11% to just under 3% – not any better than direct mail. The fun part for Wikipedia – this doesn’t cost them anything. Your organization doesn’t have this same luxury.
- Give your donors a positive intangible, allow them the opportunity to get involved and show momentum.
- Thank them along the way? Â Of course but that’s not the driving factor to raise money. It’s the driving factor to building a community and with a community you can move mountains!
- Make the connection personal – “I only know one person at Wikipedia, he happens to be the founder.”