If you don’t want to read the next few paragraphs and suffer any more ham-fisted memes then here’s the headline. Asking people for loads of data that they don’t feel like giving you (at least not yet) is annoying for them and probably destroys a ton of value in our sector. And we’ve got evidence.
I can’t post the actual numbers publicly because they’re not mine to share in that way. But if anyone wants to catch up for coffee, we can show you graphs that demonstrate pretty conclusively that focusing on taking people’s money rather than generating a whole bunch of contact details results in the following:
- Slightly higher levels of conversion to Regular Giving
- Slightly higher value regular gifts
- MUCH higher numbers of one-off cash gifts
- MUCH higher value cash gifts
As a consequence, we obviously collected fewer postal addresses relative to the number of donations. But we got everyone’s email and, fascinatingly, over half of the people who gave cash using our super-frictionless checkout agreed to store their card details in case they wanted to give again.
In short, our client raised a lot more money by simply letting people donate when they hit the donation page – rather than insisting they first do things that bore and annoy them. And the majority of those people expressed some indication that they’d give again.
Now before anyone who’s known Open for a while calls me out on this, I’m well aware that this is a bit of a U-turn for us. We used to be big advocates of getting as much data as we could because, as Direct Marketers, it’s how we do our job. It’s how we turn impulsive acts of generosity into lasting engagement with the causes we work with, right?
But the fact is that not everyone wants to engage – perhaps because they’ve not particularly enjoyed being ‘stewarded’ in the past.
More to the point, if we’re going to inspire people to give again then we’re probably best off i) trying to do so in the same channel they came to us in and ii) making the experience really, really easy.
I’m not advocating giving up on Relationship Fundraising and turning giving into the kind of thoughtless button-pushing with which we summon cabs, food, movies and pretty much everything else we buy online. But based on what we’ve seen in recent months, it might be a good idea to give people what they want and see where we can take it from there…