Have you tried to buy a box of Cheez-Its in the supermarket lately? It's intimidating! There are more than 10 different kinds of Cheez-Its! Some of the varieties include:
- Reduced Fat
- White Cheddar
- Big Cheez-Its
- Cheesy Sour Cream and Onion
- Parmesan and Garlic
- Cheddar Jack
- SpongeBob Cheez-Its
- Party Mix
- Chili Cheese
- Hot and Spicy
It takes so long to look at the wall of orangey-red boxes that you can forget what kind you were looking for!
The choice overwhelmed me enough that I first felt paralyzed. Then I felt stupid.
How was it that I, a guy with a Master's degree, couldn't make a simple choice about a box of crackers?! Not liking to feel stupid, I left the aisle.
Can you see how we do this Cheez-It thing all the time to our donors? We often give them so many options that we're confusing them?
Does your reply form or web page have something like this?
"You can give __$1000, __ $500, __$100, __$50, __$25, __$12.50, or __any amount."
And also include something like this?
"Please send me information on planned giving, stock transfers, creating an
endowment, andcorporate matching gifts."
Our intentions are good. We know there are lots of ways to support our organization and we don't know when we'll have the donor's attention again so we want to give them as much information as possible.
But PYITS: Put Yourself In Their Shoes.
Are all these options helping motivate a donor to giving or is it paralyzing him?
Options can be very helpful but psychology experts have proven too many options scare people away. So limit your choices to choices you'd be glad they chose.
Rather than sending a letter to all your donors listing giving options from $10-$10,000, why not segment donors and send slightly different letters with only three options:
- something close to what they gave last year,
- something bigger, and
- something even bigger than that.
And, the next time you're looking to buy Cheez-Its, go for the Chili Cheese--they're incredible!
[I'm convinced we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. I'd love to hear your funniest mistakes! You can send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.]