Piñatas are decorative, papier-mâché containers usually filled with candy.
I learned about them at children’s birthday parties. There, the children get a chance to whack ’em with a stick until they brake open. Then the kids scramble to gather the candy. It’s very exciting!
Of course, one whack is never enough.
So one at a time, the kids keep pounding the lovely, hand-crafted piñata, until it finally relents and the papier-mâché splits open. After that, the beaten and broken piñata gets thrown in the trash. Game over!
Sadly, some fundraisers do the same thing.
One at a time they pound on a donor from different angles using email, direct mail, events and telephone calls. If they don’t get what they want, they pound some more until the donor relents, their heart splits open, and money breaks out. Then the fundraiser gets super-excited. Hooray!?!
There’s one big problem with piñata fundraising.
Although we’d like the donors to play again sometime, once they’ve been beaten and broken they’re usually not so interested. So they hop around looking for another charity that will treat them better. Can you blame them?
Plain and simple, this is why retention rates are in the toilet.
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And once you analyze your data…
…think about those poor piñatas next time your leadership or board press you to pound on your donors one more time. It might be fun for them to ask you to do the pounding, but your donors will surely disagree.
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