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Research Shows How To Get More Donor Saying 'Yes'

If I asked you - is it a good idea to give your donors the choice of NOT donating to your cause - What would you say?

Good idea or not?

The truth: giving people the choice of NOT donating almost doubles the likelihood that they will donate, according to research of 22,000 participants. (This study was used in soliciting smaller and medium sized donations.)

In the study, they found that when subjects were asked on a street to give money to a cause, only 10.0% complied. However, when the phrase "...but you are free to accept or to refuse" was added, 47.5% now gave.

Why does this work?

According to

"It’s because we have a fundamental need for a sense of control.

This means, when we are asked to do something it may well feel that the requesting person is taking control. As a reaction, we are then more likely to refuse, asserting our ability to sustain control.

When the person is told they are free to accept or refuse, then they are formally given control and so do not have to wrest it back.

This wording also sets up an exchange dynamic whereby they feel obliged to repay the kindness in giving a free option to disadvantage the requesting person by not refusing the request."

The technique is shockingly simple. But it seems to go against every fiber of how most of us ask for donations.

How Does It Work?

All you need to do is ask people to donate, then add some variation of the following phrase: ‘But you are free to choose either way.’

This idea is best used when soliciting smaller and medium sized donors. This can work in all types of solicitations, either face to face, on the phone, and/or email.

For example;

“Joe, Can I ask you to sponsor one student scholarship today with a donation of $1.8K? Feel free to decide either way if you want to jump on board.“

“Simon, Would you help us reach our goal in our matched giving campaign with a donation of $250? You are free to decline me if you’d like.”

“Nancy, Would you consider donating increasing your donation this year from $500 to $1,000? Of course you are free to say yes or no.”

Other variations include:

- It's up to you
- It's your choice
- Make your own mind up
- Whatever you like
- Of course you are free to choose

This idea is not just useful in fundraising. In your leadership position, use it to get the buy in from your team, board and ambassadors.

Bhatzlacha raba,

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