Last night I received a phone call from an arts organization of which I am a two-year subscriber and one-year donor. They’re running one of their annual drives and wanted to know if I would give again. The volunteer caller then started to list all the benefits I would receive for my same $100 gift, then a gift of $250, and then a gift of $1,000.
My response – I’ll give you another gift at the $100 level because I am getting value out of my subscription and I believe in what you are doing, but I’m not ready to increase my gift. Being asked to consider a $1,000 gift over the phone felt intrusive. I was put off sitting through the script when there was no compelling reason given for why I should increase my gift tenfold – other than the extra benefits to me. The problem with their pitch was the assumption that their donors give in return for extra tickets and swag. I give because this drive put tickets in the hands of kids who otherwise would not be able to experience live theater, and I’m willing to bet that the majority of their donors are compelled by that same fact. Tell me how many more children will have a new experience because of my gift. I appreciate the personal benefit, but more importantly, what’s the community benefit?
My credit card is on file with this organization since I am a subscriber, but I recently had to cancel that card and am awaiting a new one so I asked that they send me a pledge card. The caller hemmed and then said they were low on pledge cards and asked if he could call me back in a week when my new card arrived so they could get the number. Since I was in the middle of making dinner, I said yes. Afterwards, however, I found myself feeling inconvenienced. I prefer to pay donations from my checking account, not on my credit card, but as they had my card number before, I went with what was easiest for them. But, shouldn’t they go with what was easiest for me? When they call back, I’m tempted to tell them if they want my gift, they can accept my check – or forget it.
I realize that in the grand scheme of things, this is small. But, the small things do matter – especially in building a donor relationship. What do you think? Am I making too big a deal of this?
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About the Author
Dana Van Nest
Dana is Collins’ go-to person for connecting with potential clients, overseeing all our communications strategies, and maintaining strong relationships with professional associations and industry colleagues.