In speaking with potential and current Bloomerang users, I often help them find ways to utilize Bloomerang to raise money from new donors in creative ways.
One idea that comes up frequently is the concept of appealing individuals that these nonprofits are serving and have served.
The initial reactions are usually hesitant, to say the least:
…you want us to ask for money… from the people we serve?
They don’t have the money! That’s why they come to us!”
I’m fairly certain that every single time I have suggested this, I have had to say “Wait, just hear me out” – and now I say that to you too, dear reader.
Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate my point:
When my wife and I were first married, we were not well off. We needed help from the government, and from several area nonprofits as well. And we were (and are) very grateful for their help. We did not have a lot of money then, but we’re doing fine now.
But sadly, no one from those organizations stayed in touch with us.
We did not have a lot of money at the time, but we probably could have afforded $3/month or something similar – and if someone had asked for it, we very well might have signed up. After all, we were getting so much from those organizations; why not give back just a little bit to help others in our situation?
If these organizations had asked for and received these small but recurring micro-donations from us, that would have (hopefully) prompted the organizations to stay in touch with us over the years.
Now that we are more financially able to give we would be much more likely to give larger amounts, if we still had a relationship with those folks.
And yes, I know, we should really look up those organizations and donate to them. But we are startlingly similar to most other donors: we’re lazy. If you can make it easy for the donor, you will be more successful than if you require us to do work. Sad, but true.
Hospitals and higher-ed institutions have mastered this. The moment a patient enters a hospital system or a student graduates, they are researching and keeping tabs on that person for future gifts.
So give it a shot!
Try a small monthly amount – a weird dollar amount below $10 – something that is doable on a tight budget while still grabbing their attention.
Be discerning about who you ask and how you frame the ask. If it’s a current program recipient, be extra careful. If it’s a past program recipient, consider a prospect research or wealth screening tool that can show you their current capacity.
You might be surprised at how many people you serve are incredibly grateful and would love to give even a small amount back to you. Giving them the opportunity to do so can be incredibly empowering.
Even if you didn’t get donations from these “alumni” while you were helping them, consider a personal appeal to past service recipients and see what happens.
Chances are you won’t be getting a massive amount of new revenue; this is more a long-term strategy, but one that pays dividends with your relationships today, and can easily evolve to pay financial dividends down the road.
Have you ever appealed to current or past program/service recipients? Why or why not? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below!