The Agitator and Ask Amounts
I follow several nonprofit fundraising blogs, one of which is The Agitator, and this recent post about "ask amounts" on direct mail and fundraising forms caught my eye. Roger Craver classifies the conventional wisdom about ask strings as being akin to flat earth fundraising - and advocates for using a different paradigm when choosing how much to ask donors to give.
Read the post, and the linked white paper about the research and testing that went into this sweeping declaration.
This post piqued my interest in part because of a vibrant discussion held at the Convio DC Users Group last week about end-of-year fundraising. As the group discussed strategies and tactics, one of the points was about just this question - how much should you ask someone to donate? What if they are brand new? What if they're an existing donor, or lapsed? Should we jettison ask amounts entirely and allow donors to fill in the "Other Amount" field?
Very good questions, and the only answers are to be found in testing - the answers may differ from one organization's housefile to another. I'm interested in hearing about ask amount testing that orgs have conducted - please discuss in the comments! And if you're a Convio client, then log on to the Convio Community to check out the Local User Groups - face to face vibrant discussion is a great learning tool and a great way to connect with other nonprofit organizations in your neck of the woods.
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