Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Reasons for Giving

Helping others should be a reward in itself, right? Somewhat. Incentives are a way to induce those who would normally not give to do so and to inspire those that already help out to help out even more.

Promo items, as they are sometimes called, can be given to the public for any number of reasons: amount of money raised/donated, hours worked (for "free" of course), gifts to potential givers. This is a smart way to build relationships with current patrons and raise awareness in the community because the organization's logo frequently appears on the promo item. If the website address is on it, then people have a way to gather information about the non-profit(from the source) at their leisure.

My favorite promo items are pens and shirts because:
a. You can never have too many pens.
b. That's an article of clothing I don't have to buy.
c. People often ask about the organization on the promos and then I can tell them about it.

Unfortunately, items like the above cost money. They may not be expensive, though, because businesses will sometimes charge only a minimal fee above what actual materials cost. If you're a team leader not afraid of a little "adventure" then offering your team of fund raisers another type of incentive might work. I've known places where male team leaders dressed in full drag if their team met the goal. I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or cry because I was laughing so hard, but hey--it worked.

Seriously, incentives can be powerful motivators. They can be used for profit oriented businesses or for charitable, non-profit organizations. I'm pretty sure a Lexus isn't on most non-profits' freebie list, but simple and inexpensive (sometimes free) items and solutions work too. Regardless of the amount you shell out, you'll strengthen relationships with patrons by allowing them to showcase their pride publicly with either a physical item or by word of mouth. That is if they can stop laughing.

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