I received a very interesting direct mail appeal in my mailbox yesterday from Smile Train (note: I have not supported this organization in the past nor had I heard of them until yesterday — so clearly they bought my name from some list that I qualified for). The outside envelope states: “Make one gift now and we’ll never ask for another donation again!”
Well, this premise really goes against most schools of fundraising — better known as relationship building. In the letter they do follow up their statement with: “Now don’t get me wrong — we love to communicate with our supporters. After all, generous friends like you have helped us perform hundreds of thousands of cleft repair surgeries. But we don’t want to be pushy.”
So fundraising is now “being pushy”.
The donation box does have an option to check “Please do not ask me for another donation.”
Either Smile Train thinks that people want to give once to a nonprofit and never give again or the letter is a gimmick to get people to give. Obviously, it got me to open the envelope and read the letter… and then actually blog about it. So maybe it worked?
At the end of the day, I just don’t like the idea of asking for a one time donation and promising to never communicate with your donor again. And I certainly don’t like the idea of saying fundraising is “pushy” — because if you are doing it right, it is relationship building — not twisting the arm of your donor until they agree to write a check.
So, do you think it will work?
PS I’m planning to give Smile Train a call in a couple of weeks to see if their “gimmick” paid off… because I am just curious like that. I promise to report back.