And most organisations are getting it wrong.
Tax deductibility is a rational concept and it isn't a strong reason to give. Reading the multitude of emails that arrived today and will inevitably arrive tomorrow makes me feel we have completely dismissed so much of what we have learned as fundraisers.
- people give to people
- emotional engagement with the cause will convince people to donate over any rational reason
- the biggest motivating factor is engagement or proximity to the cause
In the last attempt to encourage donations before the deadline, it doesn't seem the best strategy to forget what we have learned. Tax deductibility might be a secondary, rational reason in support of the main argument. But we shouldn't lead on it. Let's hope there is some stronger, more motivating content next year.
Posted: 03 Dec 2014 04:59 AM PST
The Grizzard Blog shares one of those scary pieces of knowledge that live in the major donor world: Stop Mailing The Major Donors!
Actually, don't stop mailing the major donors.
The post reports on a test where five hundred $500+ donors were sent a list of the 12 direct mail appeals they were scheduled to receive in the coming year. They were given the chance to opt out of as many of those 12 as they liked. If they didn't respond, they'd get all 12.
37%, of those donors returned instructions. The highest number of appeals any of them selected was 3.
At the end of the year, they compared the group that received all 12 mailings to the group that had identified those mailings they wanted.
The result was interesting: The donors who received all 12 mailings gave 35% more than those who restricted their appeals.
This is a bit of a surprise to me. It's normal for a group getting less mail to give less. But usually, giving donors choice -- any kind of choice -- results in more giving. I'd have expected the positive impact of choice to outweigh the negative impact of less contact. Silly me.
There may have been something about the nature of this choice that pointed the donors in the wrong direction. If you think about it, those donors said no over and over again. Nine times or more. That sets a pattern.
But there's an important lesson here: Less mail, less giving. That's true in nearly every situation. Including major donors.
Never assume donors will give more or retain longer if they get less contact. It almost never works that way.
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You could train your self-control with a technique that’s so easy, you can do it while you eat, flip channels, or brush your teeth. It might just be possible according to a new research study in which 70 college students went through 2 weeks of self-control training that involved using their non-dominant hands in everyday life.
The strength theory of self-control
Many scientists liken self-control to a muscle: the more you use it, the more fatigued it becomes. If you’ve lifted weights until you’re sore, you’re more likely to drop a heavy bag of groceries; and if you’ve used your self-control until it’s drained, you might snap at a well-meaning friend.
According to the researchers who conducted this 2013 study, the strength model also has a theoretical upside. They hypothesized that the students in this study could strengthen self-control in the long run — in the way that a body builder eventually strengthens his muscles after weeks of training — by practicing self-control more often. In this case, students would train by resisting the urge to use their dominant hands.
How the study exercised self-control and tested aggression
At the beginning of the study, each student answered an Aggression Questionnaire to help researchers understand their natural aggression and anger levels.
The students were then split into two groups: a training group and a control group. Over the next two weeks, the training group was told to exert self-control by using their non-dominant hands as much as possible for everyday tasks. The trainers filled out online diaries and answered text messages from the researchers to help stay on track. The control group received generic texts and questions during this time period.
After two weeks, all students came back to the lab to take part in two experimental tasks designed to provoke anger and aggressive behavior — and to help researchers measure how successful training had been.
First, students were told to present their life goals to a stranger over video chat. As far as the students knew, this stranger was meant to give constructive feedback. In reality, the stranger’s goal was to provoke anger: instead of real feedback, students got a barrage of insults. Immediately afterwards students answered questions about their anger levels.
Next came a disguised test of aggressive behavior: students were told to play a competitive game against the same insulting stranger. If they won, they could punish their opponent with a loud blast of white noise. In reality, the “games” were rigged so that the students won every time, and the length and loudness of their blasts gave researchers an opportunity to measure aggression levels.
Less anger linked to self-control training
In the survey administered after the students received insulting feedback, the training group reported feeling less angry than the control group.
And when researchers looked only at students with high Aggression Questionnaire scores, an even more striking difference came out. The naturally aggressive people who didn’t undergo self-control training tended to deliver more aggressive blasts of noise, as expected; but the naturally aggressive people who did train self-control showed no unusually aggressive behavior.
Self-control is one of the more fascinating aspects of human behavior. While this study examined practicing self-control in a very specific situation, this ability can have far-reaching effects on other aspects of everyday life. In a past study, for example, researchers found that people perceive coworkers with higher self-control as better at their jobs. And anecdotally, all of us can remember a time when self-control felt crucial to a task.
That’s why it’s so encouraging to see researchers explore such a simple, accessible technique for training self-control. While further research remains to be done, the non-dominant hand technique is yet another way you can challenge yourself during your regular routine. Next time you play a Lumosity impulse control game like Color Match, add to the challenge by using your non-dominant hand.
- Why is it branded from Australia Post?
- I'm not their target audience (not CEO, not an investor, not old or wealthy)
- Why is there a pen writing on a computer screen?
- Why is Grace Kelly worth more than gold?
- Can I rent Andy Warhol?
D-Rev's Krista Donaldson tells McKinsey about a radical approach to medical design that is changing the lives of the world's poorest people. To read the transcript visit here.
Interestingly D-Rev - which stands for Design Revolution - has found that their mission cannot end with innovative designs.
Experience has taught D-Rev that in order to ensure their products are reserved for the people who really need them, they have to be responsible for the manufacture and distribution. The goal is to make sure an $80 knee is distributed to prosthetic clinics around the world and sold for $80 to low income recipients. In the US, an equivalent item would cost $6,000 and without this level of logistical responsibility, D-Rev products might be provided to clinics and individuals at a greater cost than intended.
"If you want it fast, you pay for it," Mr Stanhope said. "You want it more related to the cost base, so if you are happy enough for your letter to be delivered less frequently then you pay less, if you want it more frequent you pay more”