Once, Twice, Three Times a Donation
I would love to help, but what can I do? I'm just one person." We've all heard this excuse beforeand maybe even used it ourselves to explain our inaction when presented with a worthy cause. What difference will a $10 donation really make? The answer is, more than you may realize. Take Paralyzed Veterans of America, which mailed a campaign this past spring that raised nearly $1.8 million off of an average gift of only $14.36.
But for the average donor who isn't privy to response rates, average gift amounts and other campaign stats, this power-in-numbers concept may be a little too esoteric to inspire action. Enter the matching or multiplied gift, a fundraising technique that adds a tangible hook to the idea that even the smallest of gifts can make a difference, and one that the Who's Mailing What! Archive has been seeing more and more.
November brought one such effort from World Vision, a Christian-based nonprofit that provides seeds, tools and farming materials to families throughout Africa (Archive code #605-171939-0511). The focus of this mailing is that the nonprofit has received $5.9 million in government grants, which it will use to supplement donations and multiply each donor's gift three times, as the letter describes:
Right now, thanks to the grants, your gift will have three times the normal impact! A gift of just $14, when combined with the government grants, will provide a HarvestPak worth $42 for one family. ...
The P.S. goes on to reiterate this tripling strategy, as does the reply device, which lists dollar amountsboth actual and subsidizedfor each gift level.
Another nonprofit in the mail with a gift-multiplying ask string this November was Care, which introduces its offer right on the outer envelope with the teaser, "Multiply Your Gift 5 Times" (Archive code #605-171594-0511). The brief letterjust one half of an 8 1/2" x 10 1/2" form that also includes the reply deviceexplains that each dollar of funding the organization receives secures an extra $5 in supplies and grants. The reply device further enumerates how far a gift will
go by outlining each donation level's impact in terms of how many children it can help: "$15 to feed 54 hungry children. $20 to feed 71 hungry children. ..." If there is any question in the reader's mind about what good her $15 can do, this reply device makes that quite clear.
On the political fundraising front, a recent effort from Sen. Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) also takes advantage of the powers of multiplication (Archive code #608-173947-0511A). This mailing, which arrived in a plain, white #73/4 envelope, explains that Clinton and her fellow Democratic senators:
... will match your contribution two-to-one if you respond by December 15th. That means that you will be effectively tripling what the DSCC can accomplish ...
Both the triple offer and the response deadline are repeated throughout the letter and in the ask string, which begins at "$250 (Tripled to $750 if you respond by December 15!)" and ends at "$35 (Tripled to $105 if you respond by December 15!)." The option of an "other" amount is given, but it's not clear if that amount will be matched by the senators.
Yes, offering to multiply a gift by three or five times is compelling, but when it comes to adding value to a donation, no one we've seen can beat America's Second Harvest, a food bank in the mail in November with a #10 envelope that promises to "Multiply your gift 30 times" (Archive code #611-176892-0511). Inside, the effort features a letter with handwritten call outs and a P.S. that reiterate this claim, and five "loading vouchers" that each feature a different gift level and demonstrate how much impact each will make, beginning with "$15 to provide $450 worth of groceries." The fifth and highest voucher asks for $1,800 for $54,000or one "truckload"worth of groceries. While the other vouchers are impressive, this highest level really drives home the concept of just how far the nonprofit can stretch donors' dollars.