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Mission Mayhem: How NOT to Ask for Money

Non-profits assume their potential contributors will see the good they will do and generally focus on a theme – a particular disease, a philanthropic cause, and so on. New research shows that success involves more than just generating sympathy for the group’s charitable objective: asking for money to increase awareness of the cause can actually reduce donations. […]

By |October 12th, 2012|

How to Turn a NO into a YES!

Can an initial rejection actually help you get the “yes” you really want? Surprisingly, if you create the right first and second requests, it can. Persuasion expert Robert Cialdini conducted a classic experiment that demonstrates the technique by soliciting volunteers to work with troubled kids. […]

By |September 26th, 2012|

Brainy Marketing Update – Forbes

It’s been a few weeks, so here are the latest articles from my Brainy Marketing blog at Forbes.com. Please drop by there and make a comment – Forbes has a cool comment exposure system that lets authors of posts (e.g., me) “call out” quality comments, and the site admins often expose these comments on other pages, like the front pages of sections like CMO Network, Leadership, etc. I enjoy the smart dialog you create here, and at Forbes you’ll be able to interact with a whole new group of thinkers and thought leaders! […]

By |August 23rd, 2012|

Nine Words Nearly Double Results

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, […]

By |December 19th, 2011|

Vivid Stories Change Donor Behavior

A vivid story can put us in a more altruistic mode, a study shows. UK researchers looked at the two ways people think about death – abstractly or specifically. They used a detailed story which placed the reader in a burning apartment to activate specific death thoughts. A second group of subjects answered more general questions about death, while a control group was exposed to non-death-related material. They then gave subjects a second item to read, an article about blood donations which came in two versions, suggesting that blood donations were either at record highs or record lows. Finally, all subjects were given the opportunity to express an interest in donating blood. […]

By |September 6th, 2011|

Getting High Boosts Cooperation

In our language, we tend to associate height with good. Heaven is above us, Hell is somewhere beneath us. God is described as appearing on a mountain, not in a valley. You “look up” to someone you admire. It turns out that this association of height with good is rooted in our subconscious mind, and our physical location affects our behavior. […]

By |April 7th, 2011|

Give Big, Get Bigger

Reciprocity is a common enough theme here at Neuromarketing. The concept of reciprocity suggests that giving someone something, or doing a favor for someone, establishes a subtle return obligation. An interesting study by German researcher Armin Falk showed that a bigger “gift” amplifies the reciprocity effect. Falk’s study involved mailing 10,000 requests for charitable donations, divided into three groups. One group got just the letter requesting the donation, one group received the letter plus a free postcard and envelope (the “small gift”), and the last got a package containing four postcards and envelopes (the “large gift”). […]

By |April 5th, 2011|

Nonprofit Neuromarketing – Free Webinar

When I’m asked to speak at a conference, the theme is almost always how companies can employ neuromarketing techniques to sell more products. In a departure from that, on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, I’ll be doing a webinar via […]

By |July 30th, 2010|

Zilch

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.

By |July 14th, 2010|

Baby Pics Boost Altruism

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: […]

By |April 27th, 2010|