When will some fundraisers wake up to the fact that the tragedy of donor flight is largely self-inflicted.

Other than the 16% of donors lost to death virtually every other reason for not giving — abandoning support of an organization — is influenced and controlled by the actions the organization itself takes.

Perhaps nowhere are the sloppy, copycat practices of some fundraisers more pronounced that on #GivingTuesday.

Tom and I have begun to add to our ball of string containing comments and critiques on #GivingTuesday 2016. We’ve already collected a bunch and urge you to keep ‘em coming. Either post ‘em on the comments section of The Agitator or send yours to us at editors@theagitator.net.

What was obvious within minutes after this year’s #GivingTuesday got underway is that this questionable event is floating in a Sea of Sameness.

In a secret shopper exercise Nick Ellinger over at DonorVoice put himself on the email lists of 100 top U.S. charities. His bittersweet, day-after report Giving Tuesday and the when versus why of giving is well worth reading — and sharing .

First, what struck me in his findings was what Nick calls the “Men’s Warehouse Effect” — two or three suits for the price of one — in the overuse of Matching Gifts for #Giving Tuesday.

Why would a customer ever buy one suit instead of waiting for the 2-for-1 offer? And why would a donor make a single gift when they could simply wait for one of these breathless 2-for-1, 3-for-1 or even 5-for-1 matching gift offers?

Next, in reviewing  the 32 #GivingTuesday subject lines Nick collected, I was struck by the Sea of Sameness effect (Nick termed them “snoringly generic”) added on top of the Men’s Warehouse effect. Double bad.

Take a look at the subject lines that graced Nick’s inbox and draw your own conclusion.

nick-2 nick-one

Not only does #GivingTuesday bring out the mediocrity and lack of understanding of why donors give, it magnifies and encourages herd behavior of the worst kind.

We’ve warned over and over about the dangers of copycat practices — see The Land of Lost Donors and the Sea of Sameness — including the overuse of matching gift offers.

How many donors must we lose before we learn?


This article was posted in: Breaking Out of the Status Quo, Copywriting / creative, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Media usage / trends, Online fundraising and marketing.
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