Forget donor loyalty. What you need is a donor disloyalty program

Tom at The Agitator lends space to Lisa Sargent who highlights what she describes as “a trailblazing multilevel donor loyalty program used by M. D. Anderson, a Texas cancer center that has seen direct mail revenues increase five hundred percent since it started the program.”

The trailblazing element?

The program is open to donors who don’t give a lot, so long as they give for five years or more:

‘The Partner’s Circle sprang from the observation that people who gave a little bit of money continuously throughout their lifetime often ended up bequeathing the institution significant donations from their estates,’ says Cindy Lappetito, vice president and general manager at loyalty-marketing company Epsilon, which created M.D. Anderson’s direct marketing campaign and donor loyalty programs.

Effective? Yes. Transformational? Er, not so much. The impetus to include low dollar givers seems to arise more from shrewd traditional transactional marketing than from a James 2:1-7ish egalitarianism.

For sheer transformative value, consider the disloyalty card being distributed by World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies at East London coffee shop Prufrock. To get a free coffee at Davies’ Prufrock shop you have to go grab a cuppa at eight other East London coffee shops.

Comments James Hoffman via his coffee blog:

There is no catch, it isn’t some cunning ruse to sell more coffee.  It might work if one roaster supplied all the places on the card – but there is a complete mix from Burgil to Union, from Square Mile to Nude’s in house espresso.  Gwilym just wants people to go and try coffee in different places.

This man is a great ambassador for coffee.

“A great ambassador for coffee”–not a bad reputation. And if such be true for coffee, then how much moreso for us in the realm of world-shaking causes? Are we known as “great ambassadors for the cause”–or as effective fundraisers (or not) for our organizations?

What might a donor disloyalty program look like?

How about a monthly giving program where once a quarter the gifts accrue to your organization…and each of the other months the gifts accrue to a different nonprofit you highlight that is having a powerful impact on your cause that is different than your own?

The message?

We want to be great ambassadors for coffee.

Or, more precisely, we care about the cause, not just our organization, and we value a wide variety of approaches that we think you should know about–and invest in–too.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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