Smaller Goal, Bigger Donor?
Recently, I have been reading a book about how social media can be used to drive change called The Dragonfly Effect.* In it, the authors site numerous studies about human behavior, one of which is about setting goals. According to the study, we humans are more likely to achieve goals, or at least try, that are smaller in scope, rather than goals that have a huge one. So, "run a mile" is an easier goal to achieve than "get healthy," and I am more likely to set my mind to and be successful at running a mile, then follow through on "getting healthy" (I won't know where to start and may quit trying altogether).
I have been walking around thinking about this specific concept and how it can be applied to more traditional fundraising when I realized that something very similar to this was used on me recently by an organization to successfully increase my giving to a sustainer program.
For years now, I have been sponsoring children in developing countries through a monthly sponsorship program. Recently, I received a letter from the organization telling me that due to increased costs of doing business, my monthly sponsorship rate was increasing from $22 to $30 per month.
While the marketer in me questioned the increase, the long-term donor in me thought, "hey, what's an extra $8 month? And, it is going to a good cause!"
Now here is the interesting part: I was chatting with Greg Fox about this, the marketer in me discussing the approach of increasing my monthly contribution, when he mentioned to me that if you are going to ask someone to give $100 more year, that's a lot to ask for.
"One hundred dollars?! That's a lot of money," I thought to myself. "I could do a lot with that much money! (Like buy a pair of shoes). Maybe I shouldn't increase my giving."
The moral of the story: when asked for only $8 extra per month (small goal), I was happy to contribute. When put into a bigger perspective--$100 per year (larger goal)--I started to question whether I had the resources to increase my contribution.
What does this mean for us fundraisers? Finding the ask that doesn't make the donor feel like they are stretching their own budget is the way to go? Making the goals seem achievable? Parsing what we are asking for help with into more digestible programs? Probably all of the above. This donor is going to focus on the $8/month and not think about the shoes she could by with $100. After all, $100 could buy a lot of shoes for children.
(contact Miriam via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or @MiriamKagan on Twitter)
*A complimentary copy of the book was provided to the blog by the publisher.