“Ask” and you shall receive 75% more money. It worked for this charity…

in Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing,Website - Nonprofit

Nine simple words increased the amount raised with an in-person “ask” approach by 75%. This comes from a study of the Salvation Army and its bell ringers in front of stores.

Instead of a passive approach where they stand there, ring the bell, and smile … the test had the bell ringer saying, “Hi, how are you? Merry Christmas. Please give today.”

Large study shows speaking to prospects raises in-person donations 75%. Test this human interaction concept on your website.

Adding that simple verbal request increased contributions by 75%.

I found this information in a post on the NeuroScienceMarketing blog.

The study revealed how “an in-person ask is a powerful tool … for small contributions, simply speaking a few words to potential donors boosted contributions by 75%.” This behavioral change in prospective donors might be due to the mild social pressure created by the verbal solicitation.

The blog post went on to postulate on how this in-person concept could be extended to your charity’s website. Suggestions include:

Could you add a live-chat feature to your donation page or button? Would this have the same social effect seen in the supermarket study?

The live chat may not be practical to support (man-hours as much as anything).  So…

What about a simulated human interaction? Consider testing a pop-up photo of a person (but don’t use a pasty stock photo) asking for a gift. Or having a short video (I’d start with 30-seconds or less).

I think the simulated in-person asks on your nonprofit website are worth testing with an A/B split test.

But I believe they’ll be much stronger if you include 3 short examples of how a specific dollar amount helps someone in need. It’s my experience that specific dollar amount examples of how donors make a difference and how you’ll use their money not only increases how many donate, but also the average gift size.

For example: $25 does X for an abandoned child. $100 does Y for a family. $500 does Z.

Test. Test. Test. Even incremental increases are worth the effort. We know this from direct mail and it applies to online as well.

In today’s economy nonprofits with the most growth are trying and testing new ideas; they’re taking some risks and evolving with their supporters.

Do you have an in-person ask on your nonprofit website? Or do you have a simulated in-person ask? Please share what you’ve done in the comments below.

Related posts:

Collection of 6 diverse fundraising ideas … more ideas to test

Best time to meet with a major donor … tips for asking in-person

Donor acquisition lessons learned … includes ideas and tips on testing