May 28, 2013
A Healthy Dose of Pink
In his latest book, To Sell Is Human, best-selling author Daniel Pink convincingly describes the new reality that virtually all of us are in the business of “moving others” i.e. selling.
Pink’s findings and recommendations are insightful and practical for people in all types of endeavors, but especially for fundraisers.
MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is a longtime fan of Pink (and the color too).
In one of MEG's favorite Pink insights, he describes a study done a few years ago by Yehonaten Turner, a young radiologist, centered on how he and his fellow practitioners could improve the quality and consistency of their patient service. One of Turner's concerns was that radiologists, who often work alone interpreting scan results can become “disconnected” from their patients, lose interest in their work and therefore underperform relative to their potential.
For his research, Turner arranged for pictures of 300 patients coming in for computed tomography (CT) scans to be included with the file that their servicing radiologists were to see.  The radiologists made their assessments and then completed a questionnaire.
Pink writes about the questionnaire, results and follow-up:
“All of them reported feeling ‘more empathy to the patients after seeing the photograph’ and being more meticulous in the way they examined the scan. But the real power of Turner’s idea revealed itself three months later.”
“One of the skills that separate outstanding radiologists from average ones is their ability to identify what are called ‘incidental findings,’ abnormalities on a scan that the physician wasn’t looking for and that aren’t related to the ailment for which the patient is being treated.”
“Turner selected eighty-one of the photo-accompanied scans in which his radiologists had found incidental findings and presented them again to the same group of radiologists three months later – only this time without the picture of the patient.”
“The outcome was startling. Turner discovered that ‘80% of the incidental findings were not reported when the photograph was omitted from the file.’ Even though the physicians were looking at precisely the same image they had scrutinized ninety days earlier, this time they were far less meticulous and far less accurate.”
So what’s the take-away for fundraisers?
As Pink suggests, “Make it personal.”
Pictures make it personal in two primary ways:
By sharing pictures of (and stories about) specific individuals that benefit from the donor’s giving, the nonprofit is inviting the giver to make a deeper, more personal connection with the people they are helping.
By encouraging donors to share pictures of themselves along with brief testimonials, the organization gently nudges the giver to take ownership, to personally get behind the cause.
Every MEG program gets personal. And, taps the power of pictures.
Call it a healthy dose of Pink.
May 29, 2013
When The Chronicle Talks
“When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Heralding the credibility of the E.F. Hutton brokerage house, it’s one of the most remembered advertising phrases of the 1970s and 1980s.
Fast forward twenty five years, see the March 10, 2013 article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy titled, “Monthly Giving Can Add Up to Robust and Steady Revenue for Charities”
Looking to build your case for a monthly giving program?
When the Chronicle talks, people listen.
May 02, 2013
Foot in the Door


The “Foot in the Door” technique is based on the repeatedly proven tendency of people that agree to a smaller request being significantly more likely to agree to a subsequent, larger request of a similar type. The explanation given by researchers is that people began to see themselves and their actions as consistent with the initially agreed to request and therefore they agree to the second larger similar request.
Potential fundraising uses are abundant. Recruiting monthly givers is one of the most underestimated and highest impact applications. In this case, a small step really does become a giant leap.
Just how giant?
When asked about the benefits of monthly giving, Adrian Sargeant, fundraising guru and Professor at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, was quoted saying, “Lifetime values (of monthly givers) are 600-800 percent higher than would be the case in traditional annual fund giving.”
And that’s before the biggest leap of all…
Organizations with long established monthly giving programs report that as many as two thirds of their planned gifts come from donors that started out as monthly givers.
Monthly giving, it’s a foot in the door and a whole lot more.
April 30, 2013
More Than a Number

Numbers are part of the daily fabric of our lives.

Most often, they serve a simple transactional, communication role, and are quickly forgotten.

But when does a number become more than a number?

Numbers become memorable and even loveable when we associate them with special and unique experiences. Think anniversaries, birthdays, winning lottery picks, jersey numbers, etc.

Fundraising too is about more than numbers.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is partly about raising money through monthly giving. But, as her name suggests, she’s all about making monthly giving engaging.

How does she do it?

It’s in the details…like awarding each monthly giver an individual member number… Everyday Hero #7, Match Maker #42, Grin & Share It member #75, etc.

Engagement happens when a number becomes more than a number.

May 01, 2013
Responsive Design

Ever get frustrated when you access a website on your smartphone?


Navigation is a nightmare, everything is microscopic, and it’s painful to find that one thing for which you are searching.


Wouldn’t it be nice if the website knew you were viewing it on a smaller screen and responded appropriately?


Imagine if the pages automatically reformatted themselves to be easily read and conveniently navigated on your phone. Imagine no more.


It’s real. Responsive Design, an innovative new web design methodology makes it possible for every organization to have a website that automatically identifies each accessing device and responds with the most appropriate and useful rendering of the site.


See responsive design in action at Try it from a desktop computer, on a tablet and by way of a smartphone.


It’s a match, every time and on every device.

May 01, 2013

Call it what you will…hay in the barn, money in the bank, savings for a rainy day, etc.


Whatever it is, it’s a relief to have it when you need it.


With that, wouldn’t it be even better if you had a predictable, efficient way to continually replenish your supply?


No matter your endeavor there’s probably something that would help to have in a continual, predictable, bountiful stream.


For nonprofit fundraisers and marketers, besides a steady gusher of donations, one of the most helpful resources is impact stories. Think narratives, specifically pictures, words, video, etc. that help you describe, share and sell the mission of your organization.


A few nonprofits are blessed to have stories in abundance. Most, for a myriad of reasons, have a handful of stories that they use over and over again. Those stories become stale.


MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, understands the challenge. That’s why every MEG package includes a specific solution…a methodical, repeatable process, including tools, to solve the problem.


Some would compare the process to Old Faithful. Others may just call it “Money”.


MEG calls it Storybanking.

March 06, 2013
The British Are Coming


Fish and chips, Mini Coopers, and the Dyson among others, the British are bloody brilliant in some regards.
A lesser known success is their fundraising efficiency, specifically their prowess in engaging donors in monthly giving.
According to Rapidata and the Agitator, in 2010, 37% of the donors in the United Kingdom were giving monthly, which accounted for 31% of the total giving in the UK.
Comparatively, per a March 2010 Target Analytics study, less than 10% of the average donor base in the U.S. is made up of monthly givers.
Sounds like a massive opportunity. Helpful and efficient things have a tendency to grow.
The British are coming. The British are coming. And, this time, it’s good news.
March 05, 2013
Sargeant Says


Adrian Sargeant, fundraising guru and Professor at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, was recently asked, “Where do you see the largest opportunities for non-profits to make an impact on their operations as we enter the next year?”
His response, “Two words: Monthly giving. Regular/monthly or sustained gift programs are currently revolutionizing the economics of fundraising. If your non-profit doesn’t have one – it should get one. Lifetime values are 600-800 percent higher than would be the case in traditional annual fund giving. It’s also more resilient in the face of changes in the economy.”
(Quoted in Monthly Giving the Sleeping Giant, by Erica Waasdorp, original source Blackbaud 2011 State of the Non-profit Industry Survey, October 2011)
Sargeant says.
March 01, 2013
Time for a Rhyme


Success stories begin when we all pitch in. That’s the tagline for Grin & Share It, Manos de Cristo’s monthly engaged giving (MEG) program.
For those that know Manos’ mission, the tagline rings true. It speaks to how Manos’ clients, the working poor of Austin, and Manos’ monthly givers are both contributing to unfolding success stories. Manos clients take pride in paying something for the dental care and English classes provided by Manos. The monthly givers are “pitching in” by helping underwrite the dental care and classes.
But what makes the tagline so memorable is the rhyme.
You might be thinking…”Big deal, everyone knows rhymes are often used in marketing for that reason.”
More importantly, could it be that rhymes actually help statements to be perceived as more truthful and accurate?
As described in Cialdini, Goldstein and Martin’s Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, two social scientists, Jessica Tofighbakhsh and Matthew McGlone studied that question. Their research, which compared participants’ ratings of parallel versions of statements, rhyming ones and non-rhyming ones, showed the rhyming statements to consistently be rated as more accurate.
A summary explanation of those findings in Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive reads as follows: “The researchers explained that rhyming phrases are characterized by greater processing fluency: They’re mentally processed more easily than non-rhyming phrases. Because people tend to base accuracy evaluations, at least partly, on the perceived fluency of the incoming information, the rhyming statements are actually judged as more accurate.”
Time for a rhyme?
February 28, 2013
Keep it Simple


The acronym KISS, “Keep it simple stupid” is a design principle from the Navy, circa 1960. It asserts that most systems work best when they are kept simple.
But KISS is not just for Navy people or designers. KISS is frequently dispatched wisdom for all kinds of people engaged in all kinds of endeavors.
It sure seems to make sense…but how does that apply to communication and persuasion?
Marketers, sales people and fundraisers are particularly interested in this question.
Research by social scientist Daniel Oppenheimer has confirmed that using unnecessarily complex language is likely to create the opposite of the desired effect. As the audience has difficulty understanding the message, the message is considered less persuasive and the author is thought to be less intelligent. (2006, Problems with using long words needlessly, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20:139-56).
As an acronym herself, it’s natural that MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, would have a soft spot for him (KISS). Ok…MEG thinks KISS is downright cute, but that’s just the icing on the cake.
He's a guiding principle in every MEG program.
Keep it simple.
February 03, 2013
Asking for a Little

Research done by one of the authors of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive compared effectiveness of two different appeals when going door to door to request donations for the American Cancer Society.


With one approach the researchers simply introduced themselves and asked “Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?” For the other half of the residents, the research assistants added a simple sentence, “Even a penny will help.”


The residents that heard the “Even a penny will help” appeal were nearly twice as likely to give as those that were simply asked to give. So what about the risk of receiving less than one ordinarily would because of the modest “Even a penny will help” request?


There was no difference in the average gift amount for either group. Bottom line, the “asking for a little” appeal approach yields better results in terms of number of donations and in total dollars received.


Fundraisers love to work smarter. When the average monthly giver continues giving for five years, little isn’t so little.


MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, knows her research. She’s going big. She’s asking for a little.

January 29, 2013
Bandwagon for Good

In their bestseller, YES!, Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini describe 50 scientifically proven ways to be persuasive. One of the techniques they recommend centers on the bandwagon effect.

It’s well established that people have a tendency to fall in line with the behaviors of other people. But, what accelerates the probability of them doing so?

Testimonials do.

But not just from anyone, more specifically, it should be from individuals that are similar to the target audience.

Monthly giving programs are gaining momentum as a fundraising and stewardship approach of choice for nonprofits and as a convenient and uniquely engaging way for givers to support their favorite causes.

The question is how to speed up the adoption process.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, is making a science of helping nonprofits get monthly givers on board. One of her favorite techniques…you guessed it, testimonials from existing monthly givers that appear and sound similar to prospective joiners.

It’s the Bandwagon for Good.


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