Essentially, there are two types of face-to-face fundraising.
One delivers a return-on-investment of between 33:1 – 56:1 on average (and sometimes it even garners 1,000:1 ROI) and the other yields 2:1 – 3:1 ROI.
Can you guess which ROI applies to which kind of face-to-face fundraising? If you guessed that the interrupters deliver low ROI, you were right!
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I have issues with the interruptive face-to-face model including:
What ever happened to the golden rule?
Consider how you like to be treated. Do you enjoy interruptions by strangers with clipboards or tablet devices on the street? If not, why would you send youngsters out to treat people (just like you) in that way? It isn’t nice and it makes your targets feel bad. So, think of it this way: If you wouldn’t want be interrupted and asked for money on the street, perhaps you might want to reconsider the approach.
And if you are an authority figure at your organization and you’re telling these young adults to go out there and ask away, keep in mind how authority can drive people to do awful things. Check out the famous Milgram Experiment to understand how ‘authority’ drives well-meaning people to do terrible things. Then, restrain yourself!
Can you tell that I don’t like the second form of face-to-face fundraising?
Don’t get me wrong, I know you need new donors. But I’d rather see you prioritize spending your donors’ funds on efforts that result in new major and legacy gift donors; not new low-dollar donors. Do that first! Remember, the giving pyramid is dead! [Something I proclaimed in 2013, before many others began to agree.] That’s why I believe the money you budget for the interruptive face-to-face method should be redirected toward generating new, big donors. These days you CAN inspire people to give at higher levels right off the bat. I won’t get into how to do that here because I spoke about it in the second half of this webinar and wrote about in my book and on my podcast. But if you don’t want to review any of that, just reach out to me and we’ll chat. HINT: Referrals are the key to low-cost, new major donor acquisition!
Furthermore, I think you should also consider spending more of your budget on stewarding your current major and legacy gift donors first. By doing so you’ll generate more money, more loyalty, and more referrals leading to more major donors. In other words, once you’ve shored-up your base and generated new, high-dollar donors, then you might think about spending money to find new low-dollar donors. But I doubt you will because you’ll be breaking records generating tons of revenue for your cause.
Just remember, new low-dollar donors have a lifetime value of just $42 while larger donors deliver almost $74,000 LTV.
BOTTOM LINE: Before running out into the street to interrupt people, first align your budgets so you conduct more face-to-face fundraising with the best, most loyal, wealthiest donors and donor prospects
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