If fundraising had an “easy” button, it would be the program wish list (pictured above). As fundraisers we hope that every person we meet is philanthropic and wants to donate because it makes them feel good. Yet, there are a lot of individuals who are more transactional and less philanthropic. The program wish list is for these folks!
My client Employment & Community Options created a foam poster board of their program wish list that offers different opportunities to donate at different amounts and for different items needed – each advertised on a post it.
Often donors like to know where their money is going directly – and each post-it offers this information to the donor. There is a range of donation amounts to meet any donor’s pocketbook. The donor can take the post-it directly to the check-out table and make their donation.
Very simple. Very effective. Some would say… easy.
While the program wish list looks pretty sitting on an easel, it is much more effective to take the foam board off the easel for a spin around the room. At one event, one of the guests decided to make it his mission to “sell” every post it on the board. He was completely successful for many reasons:
1) He gave first.
2) He was also a guest so it was easy for him to make a peer-to-peer ask (as opposed to a staff member asking.
3) Speaking of staff, they all donated via a post-it because they were asked – and could not say no to an enthusiastic volunteer.
To create your very own program wish list, work with your nonprofit program staff to develop a wish list of items they need for their programs. While an iPad may not seem like a “necessity” to most people, it is for your program participant who is non-verbal and the iPad provides a way for him or her to communicate with others. Research the cost of each wish list item and create a post-it for each wish list item. Make sure you have a wish list that offers a range of donation amounts that fit the different size pocket books of your donors. Develop a pretty and creative board to hang your post-its on.
Create a Program Wish List:
- Offer a range of donation amounts $25-$1,000
- Attach these amounts to items needed
- Utilize a volunteer to walk the wish list around the room and ask people to “purchase” a wish list item
- Be prepared to take credit cards for the purchase of your wish list item.
Go ahead… hit the “fundraising easy button”.