Elaine Fogel


Mug we had made for Phoenix Rescue Mission

Do thank-you gifts actually increase contributions? According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, two Yale University researchers tried to answer this question in a 2012 study of charitable behavior.

Once again, research shows that using fundraising incentive gifts don’t work. In fact, “We found when you offer a thank-you gift as part of an initial donation request—such as a pen, tote bag, or mug—people end up donating less than if you just asked them how much they’d be willing to donate,” says George E. Newman, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale’s School of Management.

“People seem to be concerned that if they were to accept the thank-you gift, it would create ambiguity about their reasons for giving,” adds Newman. “There’s actually a very long literature in psychology on this idea, known as the ‘crowding-out’ effect, where a person’s intrinsic motivation ends up decreasing once an external incentive is added.”

On the other hand, Roger Dooley, neuromarketing expert and author, says that using free address labels, greeting cards, and other items that show up in your mailbox, accompanied by a request for a donation, actually do work.

“The psychological principle involved is ‘reciprocity’ – when you get those mailing labels, you feel a subtle urge to reciprocate by making a donation. There is even data that shows the size of the gift accompanying the request can have a big influence on donations.” Continue reading


The Next Generation of American Giving, Blackbaud 2013

Did you know that Baby Boomers contribute 43% of all charitable giving? In fact, Baby Boomers control 70% of Americans’ disposable income, yet only 5% of advertising is geared toward their age group.

Is your nonprofit organization adequately targeting them and marketing to them effectively?


Let’s look at some important data on marketing to Boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 (ages 49-67) who are poised to make up half the U.S. population in 2017. (Nielsen) Continue reading

Take the time to report marketing boo-boosHow many of us have experienced marketing campaigns that have gone awry? Do you typically take the time to report the boo-boos to the organizations in question?

For the past two weeks, I have been receiving telemarketing calls from a national charity whose local office I have supported in the past. The first time I answered the telephone, the automated female voice message said she was sorry that she missed me and would call back another time. That’s weird, I thought. All I said was, “Hello,” and the system must have thought I was a voicemail message.

The following few times the call display showed the same number, I avoided answering it. Then, finally I picked up the phone again and innocently answered, “Hello.” Again, the same automated female voice said the same automated message! Hello! I am a human being here. Talk to me!

Well, instead of blocking that number, or avoiding the telephone when it showed up on call display, I decided to report the error.

It took less than one minute to find the charity online and locate its phone number. When I called, the receptionist was very nice and sent my call through to the director of development. When he didn’t pick up, she returned to say she didn’t want me to go to voicemail so she’d pass me on to Leslie, the staff person who’s in charge of the campaign.

Leslie was very sweet and expressed her sincere appreciation for my call. We chatted for a bit and she said she would contact the telemarketing supplier to report the error. She said she was especially pleased that I called because the organization is about to make a decision on its telemarketing supplier.

Apparently, I was the first person who called to report this glitch. It’s unapparent if anyone else had experienced the same thing.

I felt good that I took the time to call the organization. It does good charitable work and shouldn’t have to lose donors and supporters because of a technological issue with its supplier.

So, if you experience any marketing boo-boos by organizations or businesses that you patronize, take the time to advise them of any errors. You’ll be doing them a big favor and they should shower you with appreciation.

Imagine if you were in their situation - you’d want to know, right?

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