There's a big mistake that many, if not most, non-profits make, and this error can reduce the number of donors and volunteers. Some businesses make the same mistake, too.
A few years after college, I took a position as a sales engineer. After one customer visit with no result, my boss queried, “Did you ask for the order?” In fact, just about every sales coaching book reminds new salespeople of the importance of asking for the order when the time is right. Similarly, solicitors for non-profits know how important it is to ask for the donation rather than simply providing the opportunity for the donor to do the right thing. A large study used the familiar Salvation Army fundraisers who solicit donations outside supermarkets to show how important the “ask” is. The study compared passive bell-ringing (the standard practice) to asking passers-by for a donation with these words, […]
Zero does have a seemingly magical impact on our brains (see The Power of Free), though zero isn't always a good thing. Zero resources, for example, are generally not good for business! That's exactly what many non-profit organizations start with, though. In Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business, author Nancy Lublin translates her years of experience in under-resourced non-profits into strategies that can be applied by any business.
One of my all-time most popular posts is Child Labor: Put That Baby to Work!, which showed how orienting a baby picture so that the baby was looking toward the headline of an ad caused people to spend more time reading that headline. There’s another effect that baby pictures have: they can boost altruistic behavior. An interesting experiment in Edinburgh showed the power of a baby picture compared to other images: […]
Most of us need to persuade people that we don’t know personally to do things. A salesperson wants to close a deal. An office worker needs to persuade the new computer guy to fix her computer first. A fundraiser wants to get a potential donor to make a pledge. Our natural instinct in such situations is to avoid asking the individual we want to persuade for any favors other than the one that’s important to us. After all, the only thing worse than being asked for a favor is being asked for multiple favors, right? As you might expect here at Neuromarketing, the obvious and logical conclusion is wrong. Behavioral research shows us that sometimes asking for one favor first can greatly increase the probability of success with the second favor! […]