Regular readers of this Ezine will know that I think very highly of Seth Godin. He's the author of many books including "Permission Marketing," "Unleashing the Idea Virus," "Really Bad Power Point," and "Purple Cow." What I love most about Seth is that he thinks on-the-edge and persuasively argues that in today's economy on-the-edge thinking is far safer than maintaining the status quo.
If you read ""Purple Cow," you know Seth firmly believes that for your organization to thrive you need to make it remarkable; something others will talk about to their friends. He got the idea while driving through the French countryside. The first cow his son saw was amazing and exciting. The 100th was normal and boring. If they had seen a PURPLE COW at that point, they would have taken notice.
- Why You Need a Free Prize
- Selling the Idea
- Creating the Free Prize
A "free prize" is a "soft innovation." It may seem like a gimmick at first but actually becomes an essential part of your product or service. We know what our favorite cereal tastes like, but it often becomes irresistible to us when we see we can get a free prize inside the box. To illustrate his point, Seth is selling the first printing of this book in a custom-made cereal box! You can still get a copy at Amazon:
My affiliate link to the book:
A regular link to the book
Seth builds the case for the urgent need of people in all fields, including nonprofits, to be championing soft innovations. Soft innovations are the “clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone in an organization can think up.” He's convinced, and convincing, that anyone can come up with a free prize. But how do you convince your organization to adopt it?
When you share your cool, life-changing idea to a co-worker or your boss, he says they'll ask three questions:
- Is this idea doable?
- Is it worth doing?
- Are you the one able to do it successfully?
If they aren't convinced about any of those questions (which Seth calls the "Fulcrum of Innovation") they won't join you and the idea will die. The second part of the book is dedicated to showing us how to become champions and set the stage for "yes" answers to all three questions. If we can't win the support of others, creating a free prize isn't important.
The last section is dedicated to finding the free prizes. What would make your organization remarkable? Here Seth introduces his new concept of “edgecraft.” He explains,
"You're...caught in the center of a web of boring. The goal of edgecraft is to pick an edge (there are hundreds to choose from) and go all the way with it--even a little further than that if you can. Moving a little is expensive and useless. Moving a lot is actually cheaper in the long run and loaded with wonderful possibilities."
Donuts are boring but Krispy Kreme found an edge and made them sensational. Renting movies has been going on for decades but Netflix went to the edge and changed the rental experience. They created a free prize and a very loyal customer following. The United Way found free prize when they discovered the concept of payroll deduction. And they raised a lot of money with that free prize!
As we've seen in the "Creating Donor Evangelist" series, if our constituents aren't talking about us, our organizations won't survive. "Free Prize Inside" is an inspiring and practical handbook to help us to find our edges and push for a free prize. I highly recommend reading it and getting a copy for your entire staff!
****WHAT ABOUT YOU?****
What edges can you go to to find a free prize? When I was at Seth's loft last year, my group was exploring remarkable ways to promote my planned giving program. Seth thought they were all far too safe. He asked why I didn't promote a "Dead Money Auction" in which people placed "bids" letting us know how much they were leaving us in their estate. THAT, he said, would get people talking about planned giving.
What about you? I bet you already have a dozen free prizes floating around your head, don't you? Be sure to read the book to see how to champion your ideas so that your boss and co-workers will buy in to them too.
If you're still struggling with finding a free prize, check out the tool my friend David Badurina created at:
His little program is one of the least expensive, most effective tools I've come across in a long time. Imagine being able to have a quote on your donor's or alumni's computers once a week--whether their email was working or not! You could have quotes from favorite professors. Or maybe interesting facts that reinforce the urgency of your cause.
Download the free demo version and check it out for yourself.