I believe in giving donors a chance to self-select as a way of engaging them in your cause. The approach outlined in this post is easy, it provides great information, and it helps you create a list of people who self-select as being interested in what you’re doing.
When Donors Self-Select, Good Things Happen
When you ask a group of people to respond to something you send or offer them, a subset of them will invariably do what you ask. When they respond, two important things happen:
- By responding to the opportunity, they indicate their interest in your project.
- When they respond, they feel more connected to you. By doing what you’ve asked, they move toward you rather than being passive or shying away.
I often think of this strategy as sprinkling fish food on the water’s surface. Eager fish are happy to swim up and take a nibble.
2 Great Ways to Engage Donors through Self-Selection
Here are two simple and excellent ways to let your donors identify themselves as being interested.
1. Donors Can Self-Select using a “Yes, I’ll Help” Card
The first is a simple, old-fashioned technique that you can use with large gatherings — perhaps at your gala or a reception or a community information meeting.
Create a card with several options indicating how people might help. If you’re in the early phases of a campaign, you might want to include options like this on the card:
YES — I’LL HELP!
Yes, I’d like to…
Don’t forget to capture people’s names and contact information!
Here’s the catch…
This strategy won’t work well if you just leave the cards on a table for people to fill out (if they are so inclined). You’ve got to be more assertive than that.
Get your volunteers or staff to distribute the cards along with pens or pencils. Then have them collect them once they’ve been filled out.
- If people at the event are sitting at tables, you can hand them out at each table and let people know you’ll be back to pick them up.
- If people are standing around, cocktail party style, you can give the cards out and have people with baskets walk through the crowd asking for the filled-out cards.
This little nudge of assertiveness makes all the difference. You’ll wind up with a good collection of cards that give you permission to get in touch with people and confirm their participation.
2. Donors Can Self-Select through an Online Survey
If you have a good size email list, you can create a survey and invite everyone on the list to give you their thoughts and opinions about a topic related to your campaign plans. It’s easy and free to create a simple online survey. Don’t make it longer than ten questions. Five is even better!
If you offer a reward to the people who participate, you’ll get a good response. You might want to enter the respondent names in a drawing for dinner for two at a local restaurant. Or, you might provide a special gift basket for two people who fill out the survey.
4 Tips to Create your Own Online Surveys
Here are a few tips for creating a successful online survey:
- Be sure to ask for full names, email addresses, and phone numbers.
- In addition to asking their opinions on real topics, include some questions about how they’d be interested in helping.
- Limit your survey to 5-10 questions.
- Send an email to your list inviting people to fill out the survey. Let them know that they stand a chance of winning something great. And include the link to the survey in the email for easy access.
You’ll wind up with helpful information about your donors and a select list of names and emails of people who were interested enough to respond.
There are several online tools to help you build and send surveys, like SurveyMonkey and SurveySparrow. They even have AI functionality to help ensure your surveys collect viable information.
Self-Selecting Really Works!
Don’t miss the opportunities at in-person gatherings and through simple online surveys to let the people on your list identify themselves as being interested. It’ll be good for you and it’ll be good for them.
Ever create a survey before? Share your tips in the comments below.
Free Capital Campaign Resources
Check out the many free campaign resources we offer to help you get a handle on your capital campaign.