Tuesday, January 27, 2009

NonProfit Marketing: Exchanging Cash for Prizes

As every NPR listener knows, several times a year the station runs a fundraiser. Beloved programs are cut short, you miss chunks of the morning news, Terry Gross doesn't get to say Fresh Air as often as you'd like. I actually enjoy the pledge drive. What creative combination of goodies will KQED offer its listening audience to tempt them to pay in their $12 per month to support the station. And in just two days I've heard several winners that truly have tempted me. Before I go any further know that I do support KQED annually and am the proud owner of a DVD on biking around the Bay Area, would be helpful if I owned a bike, a KQED messenger bag (ordered because I was desperate to find something that my overlarge work laptop would fit into comfortably), a crank emergency radio/flashlight - a lifesaver during last year's 12 hour power outage and best of all a complete DVD set which has every issue of the New Yorker from its founding to 2006. So yes, I'm a marketer who loves NPR and wants to do good - for a price.

So what temptations have been offered this week? On the way home today if I donated I would get coupons for two pies from Whole Foods. Now I'm not sure why these pies are so special except them come from Vermont and have sort of blueberry madness going on in one and three kinds of apples in the other. Not a temptation. There is the mind exercise dvds - 40- 1 hour classes to help train my brain. Somewhat tempting but $30 per month is the required fee and I'm not sure the DVDs wouldn't just sit on my desk waiting for a week when I have all that spare time.

Then there is the one that I just loved. It's a combo gift - all you get delivered to your home is a small tote bag that zips up into a wallet sized item you can carry in your purse. And if you get that bag then 100 lbs of food will be donated in Rwanda by Whole Foods. And how cool is that? I can give cash to help one charity and another charity will also benefit. And to top it all off, if I told them I don't need the tote bag - the money that would have been spent sending me the tote bag would go to the San Francisco Food Bank and it would be enough to buy 180 meals. That's just amazing. I can do a trifecta - do one donation and benefit three charities simultaneously.

So did I give? Not yet. I'm still waiting. KQED tends to escalate the prizes as the drive progresses. What may be on offer on Friday or even next Monday? I can tell you I almost always give on the last day. The endless repetition wears me down and I crack just before the final bell rings.

What would be your idea of the perfect gift item? What would get you to donate?

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