Divisive issue here. Most nonprofit managers believe in a perfect world their mission would attract all the revenue they need. They also know the world is not perfect. So many use contributor incentives to enhance gift income.
Sure, premiums can increase fundraising revenue. But only if you know how to use them. And understand why they work. So, let’s not fight about it. Let’s look at the facts. Here we offer tips based on supplying branding products to over 16,000 fundraising and marketing programs. This is solid stuff.
This is the terrain we will cross in this post: we will comment on the origins of this series, explore the enormous power logos (including yours) exert over members of an affinity-group, explain the risk nonprofits face when trying to balance cost and quality and offer some insights on selecting and purchasing branding products for use as contributor incentives. These topics were covered earlier and in-depth, so we provide links to topic-specific posts.
All this is background. Next week’s blog post will discuss presentation – the way you put these elements together and pitch your premium to encourage contributions you might not otherwise receive. In that post we’ll also respond to any questions or criticisms we receive in response to the following.
BACKGROUND: At the request of a reader, the first posts in this series we listed plenty of objections to premiums. And only two arguments in favor. BIG difference, though. Supportive sentiment is based on about 30 years of market research and nationwide results. Negatives, while persuasive, appear to have evolved from limited experience.
LOGO LEVERAGE: The first step – understand the power of your logo. As the value of your mission increases in the eyes of a supporter, so does the likelihood that the person will renew a contribution or upgrade to a higher level to acquire an attractive premium with your logo. That product becomes evidence of affinity, announcing the relationship between the supporter and your organization. Logo Leverage has been covered from different directions in the following posts.
You do it. I do it. We all do it. That’s why the Lord of Logos rules the marketplace! (Logo Dynamics explained)
Janice and John: Trapped In The Logo-Orgy At Harvard Square (Musings about an incident that illustrates the point)
Betrayed By My Hero – Burke’s Tale Of Childhood Angst (More musings)
QUALITY V. COST: Once a product with your logo is out in the hands of end-users, it is forever beyond your control. Yet as long as it survives, or as long as it is remembered…. that imprinted product will affect your brand equity in ways that are helpful. Or harmful. You MUST NOT put your logo on a product that will disappoint the user. A mission-driven public service organization cannot afford to make the compromises sometimes made by commercial outfits. The Quality/Cost issue has been covered in the following posts. It is a critical issue. We will have more to say about this in the future.
(Both posts are about the special branding risk faced by nonprofits)
BUY SMART: There is a lot involved here: planning, market knowledge, product knowledge, distribution. Example: You can buy identically shaped coffee mugs with a 1-color imprint for $1.25 or for $2.25. The samples will look the same. Unfortunately, the cheap ones will have lots of surprises when they are unpacked – and more surprises when they are used. The following posts cover aspects of premium selection and purchasing.
COMING NEXT WEEK: tips about presenting your premium to your market during a fundraising campaign.
BOTTOM LINE: The nonprofit sector is the largest purchaser of imprinted branding products. Thousands of public service organizations have found that fundraising premiums simultaneously increase their revenue and their brand equity. Try the links above. Learn the fundamentals. Send me your comments and challenges. Then you will be ready to consider a few simple tricks to making fundraising incentives work for your organization. That’s the topic of next week’s post.