Giving in the name of…

Published by Patrice Simonnet on

Last week, a friend of mine queued for more than one hour to get me a surprising present: a soft drink! Since then, I’ve been thinking how this could be an inspiring idea for us fundraisers!

Consider that my birthday is still far away and that this “cola” can be bought for cheap everywhere around the globe. The color of its packaging is always red and white when it is not the “light” o “zero” version of it. You see, I don’t even need to name it to you! In fact, the first reason for my friend to queue was notoriety.

A mass market product...but unique!

A mass market product…but unique!

Nothing seems more valuable than a unique version of a classic product. Add to that a free of charge customization of the packaging of this product and you get the perfect present. Many people will choose it because, in a way, it is not a product anymore. They will never use this product but they will cherish it because this product includes a part of them in it.

So, what about a fundraising “product” that is unique and that make you feel different? Not possible? Just try to read again the previous paragraph, replacing the word “product” by “donation”… not bad hey?!

The recipe seems simple. Uniqueness through customization of the product with a name (a particular name). Any time of the year. Making the person feels special. Other brands have showed the way: Louis Vuitton allows you to write your initials on a luxury bag, an Ipad can host any quote, you can choose the color of each single part of your Nike. They did so on a worldwide scale by using new technologies available on the supply chain.

Is there a way you can do the same for your fundraising programme? Just consider digital printing that allows extensive customization of any direct marketing pack, especially the graphical elements. Some years ago, this was not possible on a large scale and at a reasonable cost.

Let’s try to list some ways to use a NAME as a key element of your fundraising offer:

– use the name of the beneficiary: this is core element of child sponsorship’s organizations. Make personal any project by collecting name or choosing one representing the entire project.

– vary the sender of communication to donors: test letters signed by a testimonial, by another donor that experienced a field visit, by a field worker or by the customer care officer. From time to time, I “personally” receive emails from Michele Obama and you can be sure I read them all,

– print envelops of direct mailing packs with a call to action including the name of the recipient. Or just have an extra window on the envelop that show a customized text printed on the letter.

– do name objects, name equipment, name buildings: people are happy to have their name on a bench, on a tree, at the entrance of a museum. Make sure to send them a nice certificate, an invitation to visit or a picture of where there name is displayed for eternity (!!!).

– name dropping for donor-get-donor activities: remember to thank when a donors introduce you a new one. Especially if this last one made a donation.

Campbell's Soup Cans is a work of art produced in 1962 by Andy Warhol.

Campbell’s Soup Cans is a work of art produced in 1962 by Andy Warhol.

-special edition of your publication: have some publication signed personally by a prestigious board member or a testimonial and make

sure to give them to major donors. According to the contents, you can also print them in a high-end format, number them, auction them. They are unique, so they worth a lot!

-In Memoriam donations. No need to comment.

And at last, what about a “not in my name” campaigns: petition are a good way to recruit warm prospect. Ask one of the main environmental ngo about its “click-and-call” conversion activities.

To conclude, ask yourself how to apply the famous quote of Andy Wharol: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. He made art from a soup can, others increase sales of a soda writing your name on the packaging. I am sure you can get a lot of ispiration from it.

Patrice Simonnet

Patrice is a French fundraiser lost and happy in Italy since 11 years... There, everyday, he discovers what cross-cultural means! After experiences as DM officer for Unicef and Head of Fundraising for ActionAid Italy, he is currently Head of Fundraising of a foundation taking care of Italian cultural and environmental heritage (FAI-Fondo Ambiente Italiano). There he manages a team of 30 dedicated and passionate staff. In a past life, he lived in Africa and South America, graduated both in "international business studies" and "development studies".

1 Comment

[Headlines] Avoiding Work Burnout | · August 6, 2013 at 16:05

[…] Giving in the name of… Last week, a friend of mine queued for more than one hour to get me a surprising present: a soft drink! Since then, I’ve been thinking how this could be an inspiring idea for us fundraisers. By Patrice Simonnet […]

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