Recently we were contacted to provide commentary for some forthcoming research. The request involved explaining the gender difference in various types of peer-to-peer events.
There were 30 homeless women living in our church last week. On Saturday, they left us, bound for another church, which was coordinated by CARITAS, a nonprofit in Richmond, Va.
When we look at the people who serve on volunteer leadership committees for nonprofit peer-to-peer fundraising, we assume those people are our highest fundraisers and that’s how they came to be on the committees. Or we assume that these folks have a strong mission connection and that is why they are on the committee.
Maybe it is time to accept that walk is dead. Maybe enough people have done walk that we just can’t attract enough participants. Maybe the digi-verse gives them a new way to fundraise, and they don’t need to face-to-face with each other. Maybe no amount of lipstick is going to dress up this pig.
Wall Street investors famously coined the phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” referring to the hundred dollar bill that bears Benjamin Franklin’s likeness. As it turns out, Franklin can give us a few tips about how to maximize fundraising dollars.
The first time I attended an Association of Fundraising Professionals meeting, I searched for the peer-to-peer fundraising sessions. There weren’t any. Each year I would go look, and there were never any sessions. Recently, a few are showing up, but they typically only involve peer-to-peer fundraising peripherally.
The Beloved (Otis Fulton, my co-author on almost everything and our human behavior expert) and I were in Paris last week for my birthday. Paris is the city of Jason Bourne movie police sirens, tiny streets, impossibly cute children, thin people and few Americans (at least these days).
Recently, Otis Fulton, my hubby and Turnkey’s psychological expert, read Tom Ahern’s book, “Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes: How to Make a Persuasive Case for Everything From Your Annual Drive to Your Planned Giving Program to Your Capital Campaign.” As promised, Otis said, the book covers a lot of ground. Ahern focuses on writing a “case for support” directed at various types of donors.
I was at the Women’s March in DC—you know, that little Saturday get-together. Friday night I stayed with a friend who lived near the Metro stop at the end of the line, the furthest you could get from the march location and still use the metro. I thought that would mean we would be able to board at 8:30 a.m. for the 1:00 p.m. march with no problem.
Professional fundraisers usually don’t list “behavioral economics specialist” in our skill-sets. Now is the time to change that. To help understand why, we turn to author Michael Lewis. His work is worth a long weekend on the back porch with a cup of joe or two. His work will help you raise money.
Gift cards for your mother-in-law’s Christmas gift are a great timesaver. Gift cards used as recognition are like wire grass in my fescue, like a dog’s butt on my favorite pillow, like white zinfandel being the only wine served.
“How do I get the new majority (Millennials) hyped on my peer-to-peer event?”
Frustrated on this front? You are not alone. In last week’s blog, I wrote about “cracking the Millennial code.” Three defining characteristics of Millennials—individualism, digital presence and a desire for charitable participation—combine to make peer-to-peer a particularly effective way to access their resources and energy. But as many of us have experienced firsthand, that can be easier said than done.
Much head-scratching happens around engaging Millennials. At Turnkey, we turn to research to inform our work. Our human behavior expert, Otis Fulton, prepared an overview of the Millennial audience, which I will share with you.
At Turnkey, we often say that the activity used in a peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising endeavor does not matter. Getting a “yes” in P2P fundraising is about the relationship between the potential donor and the peer doing the asking. The relationship between the donor and the organization is a distant second in importance.
By Katrina VanHuss
In our last blog I wrote about how automated marketing techniques produce superior results over traditional marketing. Automated marketing is sonar to the megaphone, scalpel to the machete, shouted raucous come-on to the considerate remark.
Today, I want to look at one of the psychological mechanisms behind automated marketing’s superior outcomes. For that, we need to think about construction sites. We need to think about leering men, shouting at uncomfortable young women walking by. This sort of thing is somewhat top of mind given our current political environment, so I am compelled to “use it in a sentence,” as my first-grade teacher used to say.
The metric that automated marketing uses to measure success is conversions. A conversion is defined as the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action. In other words, a conversion is simply getting someone to respond to your messaging. Automated marketing increases conversions by:
- Sending the message at the appropriate time based on the target’s behavior.
- Delivering content personalized to the target based on information tracked in the automated marketing database.
The call to action can be many things—registering for a walk, posting on Facebook, forwarding to friends and, of course, making a donation. Getting messaging from a well-designed automated marketing campaign is like having an email conversation with someone who gets you.
What is it that makes personalized messages more effective? Is it because people pay more attention if the message is attuned to their interests? Yes, for sure, getting someone’s attention is important given the noisy media buzz that we all live with today. But attention alone is not enough. The construction worker shouting at the pretty girl never actually gets a date.
The real value of personalized messaging is that it improves the odds that someone will take action. A personalized message is the construction worker jumping from the scaffold and saying, “Ma’am, I think you dropped your scarf.” And once someone begins to respond to you, to move in your direction, it becomes much easier to keep her coming to you, until they’ve walked through your front door, or said “yes” to a date.
Turnkey human behavior expert and my hubby, Otis Fulton, pointed me at the book, “The Wisest One in the Room,” by renowned social psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross. They wrote, “Heroic actions and lifelong commitments to noble causes often start with small acts. A child volunteers to walk dogs at the local [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] because she likes pets. She then responds favorably to a request to donate to the SPCA. Soon she’s soliciting signatures to preserve the habitat for a local species of owl and then joins the ranks of Greenpeace activists.”
Automated marketing tools provide more efficient ways to reach people by delivering messages to which they are more likely to respond, helping them take incremental steps to conversion. Messages about dogs, cancer survivors, caretakers or global warming, coupled with specific calls to action based on what we know about the person receiving it, is powerful. Maybe the receiver is a retiree living on a fixed income but who has an abundance of time to volunteer. Maybe she is a college student who can mobilize her social network to organize a do-it-yourself. These types of personalized outreaches we have all fantasized about, but accomplishing this sort of personalization was heretofore unattainable. That is no longer true due to technological advances.
As Gilovich and Ross told us, that first small act can fuel strong motivation. Traditional marketing is based on the idea that you have to front load motivation to get action. That you must educate people to a critical mass of understanding that then leads to an action. Social science tells us that the traditional marketing approach to conversion is wrong.
Automated marketing stands this on its head in full agreement with social science; it’s all about the conversion, getting the desired action, no matter how small. And there is a reason this approach pays big dividends. It seems counterintuitive, but we know that motivation often comes after starting a new behavior, not before. In other words, motivation is often the result of an action, not the cause of it.
The takeaway? The key to motivating people is making it easy to take that first action. The beauty of doing our jobs in 2016 is that we have technology that makes moving people incrementally attainable. We are the most popular construction worker on site.