The Dessert Cart Ask String

I recently presented 30 Ideas in 60 Minutes as part of a 3-person panel at Fundraising Day in New York. It’s a fast-moving perennial favorite at Fundraising Day filled with ideas to get you thinking and quick tips you can take home and put to work in your own direct response program. If you couldn’t make it to the largest one-day fundraising conference in the world, I encourage you to add it to your budget and calendar now for next year. And check back here for upcoming posts sharing the ten ideas I presented on the panel.

IDEA: Think of your ask string like a dessert cart.

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and after dinner your server wheels a tray of irresistible confections RIGHT TO YOUR TABLE? And so you obviously need to have the key lime pie? Well, did you know you were twice as likely to buy that dessert because your server showed it to you, rather than giving you a menu to read?

This same approach often boosts response in email fundraising. Only instead of literally wheeling an assortment of good works over to your prospective donor’s house to choose from, you show the gift array that might otherwise be presented as text in your email as clickable images representing what the individual’s gift will accomplish.

Like this:

The approach can also be used by membership organizations to show the benefits the individual will receive at varying gift levels, like this:

So to boost response to your emails, explore bringing the options right to the table, so to speak, in the form of clickable visuals.

And don’t forget to test to measure the impact of your ideas.


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