Tips for Maximizing Your Ask Strategy
You have spent hours deliberating over the copy for your upcoming campaign. The designer has come up with engaging graphics that you know will standout and catch your audience’s attention. You have planned out a targeted segmentation strategy. You’re ready to launch your campaign, right?
So often we don’t take time to think through a key element of every campaign: the ask strategy. Before you pick-up the same ask strategy you have used before, here are some tips to consider when you craft the ask for your next campaign.
Lapsed Recapture and Prospects: Keep the goal of the campaign in mind. Average gift and response rate generally have an inverse relationship. Because the goal of recapture and acquisition efforts is file growth, unless it’s a mid-major giving program, don’t worry too much on generating a high gift average. Focus on maximizing response rate.
Gift Call Outs: Try highlighting the gift amount that is a little above the gift average or the donor’s current giving level.
Special Gift Appeal: Instead of basing the ask calculation on the most recent gift amount, consider using the highest recent gift – looking at the highest gift in the last 12-24 months – to see if you can increase your gift average and revenue.
Renewal: Vary the ask throughout your membership renewal series. Be more aggressive early in the series when you’re likely to have the highest response rate. As response declines throughout the series, consider trying to get a renewal below the current giving amount. At some point, it’s better to get the renewal at a lower amount than to let a donor lapse considering the effort and cost required to re-acquire a donor.
Sustainer Conversion: Sustainers can be difficult to upgrade. Ask donors to upgrade annual giving from the start. For example, if a donor is donating $60 annually, ask for $6 or $7 per month instead of $5. (For more about how you can upgrade your existing sustainers, go to Upgrading Sustainers – Time to Meet the Challenge.)
Symbolic Giving: Tying the gift amount to your mission can help convey the impact a donor can make. If you’re working with a food bank, perhaps the ask is based on the number of meals the gift will deliver. If you’re a public radio station maybe your ask is a day sponsorship. Just remember to keep it simple. And be careful not to use restricted gift language so there is no confusion about how funds will be used.
The best ask strategy strikes a balance between the average gift and response rate based on your campaign goals. Use all the information you have available to you. Most important, don’t let your program run on autopilot. The ask strategy needs to be regularly evaluated to make sure it’s appropriate and maximizing the results of your program.
If you’d like help evaluating your ask strategy, contact Debbie Merlino.