A mentor of mine swears it wasn’t strategic.
Two days before the Day of Giving, I received a short little thank-you from his organization for my last gift to them. The thank-you seemed to almost come out of nowhere. It had been months since I donated to them, and they had already thanked me for it.
There was no call-to-action, or even mention that the Day of Giving was coming up. It was just a quick, little thank-you?. I thought it was a nice gesture and went about my day.
Jump ahead two days later, and it’s Day of Giving. So guess who I found myself giving to again? Yep, the same organization.
And whether or not they did it on purpose, this is a perfect example of what’s referred to as priming.
Priming basically means to get something or someone ready for something. In the case of fundraising, you can think of it as specific, strategic timing for something. Instead of jumping out of nowhere and asking for a donation, as too many organizations do, the best fundraisers pre-empt the ask with something of value, whether it’s a thank-you, a meaningful update, or something else.
The real purpose of priming is to put your organization in the donor’s mind before you need them.
Why does it matter so much? Because it works.
Asks that are preceded by a valuable interaction are experienced more positively by donors. We’re wired to respond better to asks when we’ve been primed by positive interactions beforehand.
So be sure think about the timing of how you roll out your next fundraising campaign. And think not just about the actual period when it goes live but also about how you’ll build up urgency and relevance with your donors in advance so that your supporters are primed and ready to give.
For a tiny bit of effort, you might see a huge difference in results.
The preceding post is by Kyle Crawford, CEO and founder of Fundraising Genius, a platform for growing development programs.