Skip to content

By Graham Ruffels

As a fundraising advocate and proponent of effective marketing, I have a passion for premiums and incentive-based programs.  “Incentums”, if you will, continue to be an effective way to increase targeted fundraising response rates, particularly in today’s marketplace.

Two primary models exist: Up-front and back-end.  With a great deal of attention over the past 15 years to the “freemium” model, a shift has been moving towards establishing less costly, equally potent techniques for placing emphasis on back-end for obvious cash-flow and liability reasons.

Regardless of your preferred method, here are 4 recommendations if you’re considering adding this enhancer to your direct marketing plan:

  • Choose items that people want.  While the item should be “in-line” with the mission of the organization, success will be better recognized when the organization has been adept at locating the item the audience really desires.
  • Sell the message, not the item.  Sounds contrary to tip #1, but there is quite a difference.  Donors/buyers want a tangible return for their money, however, the reason someone will give money is because of what they are supporting.
  • Choose an item(s) with a high perceived value.  In some instances that may be wearables, desk supplies, etc, but may also roll into forms of travel incentives and gas/food rebate programs depending on the focus of the campaign (and the level of the intended audience).
  • Test, Test, Test and Test some more.  This technique does not work for all audiences the same way.  Take advantage of some back-end models that only charge for the exact number of items ordered.  That way, there are no financial pitfalls in the process.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Graham Ruffels is the President of Victory DM and current President of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington. Contact Graham at graham@victorydm.com, or 215-272-5600.