When developing any sort of donor acquisition campaign, the first essential ingredient is an effective content offer. Without a good offer, you’ll have nothing to advertise to your likely donors. And if you aren’t capturing the attention of likely donors, you’ll never convert new ones.
So then, how do we create a winning content offer that will capture the attention of likely donors and influence them to give a gift?
Through our research and testing, we’ve identified three principles to guide you as you consider what kind of content offer to use for your donor acquisition efforts.
1. Your content offer cannot – and will not – appeal to everyone.
Not everyone is a prospective donor for your organization. We must understand this, or we’ll be continually disappointed.
For example, if you run a food bank in a specific city, you might create an eBook offer that explores the scale of poverty and hunger in your city. But this kind of offer won’t appeal to people who live in a different city, state, or country.
The key to success is in defining who your likely donors are, developing an offer that will be relevant to them, and strategically targeting them with your advertising.
We often hear stories of fundraisers who develop an offer like this, set up a Facebook ad campaign without any targeting, and then wonder why no one is clicking, downloading, or donating. And it’s because there are 1.8 billion active Facebook users – most of which aren’t interested in your offer.
2. Your content offer must deliver more value than it costs.
People aren’t looking for a reason to take your offer. People are looking for a reason to move on and do something else, especially on Facebook. So for an offer to be successful, it has to be higher in value than it is in cost.
You might ask “What cost does my offer have if I’m giving it away for free?” While there may not be a monetary cost for your offer, asking for someone’s name and email address creates cost. They have to give something up in order to receive your offer.
We also create cost when we increase the amount of effort it takes to get the offer. For instance, a petition has very low cost. Someone will read through your petition and sign their name to it by giving you their email address, all within a matter of seconds.
On the other hand, an offer like an online course has a very high cost. It requires the user to dedicate a significant amount of time in order to read, listen to, or watch the course. In both of these cases, the value of the offer needs to outweigh the perceived cost.
If we get this out of balance, and the perceived cost is greater than the value of the offer, you’re going to see very low conversion rates.
How perceived cost affects value
However, sometimes there needs to be a small amount of cost. We have found that the increasing amount of investment that someone spends on your offer has a significant impact on their likelihood to eventually become a donor.
Petitions have very little investment and cost. They are great opportunities to get cheap emails because a lot of people will fill them out. But we’ve seen that the donor conversion rate is usually low.
A quiz requires a little more investment of time and effort, but they are also requiring an added level of intellectual engagement. This helps people understand the problem to which your organization offers the solution. Because of this extra investment, we have seen a 2.73% average donor conversion rate with this type of offer.
An e-book might take around 10 minutes to read, but when people are willing to invest in that, they have a much higher likelihood of donating. An online course can take several weeks, but it has almost a 6% donor conversion rate.
From this data we can draw the conclusion:
When people are willing to invest their time, they may be more willing to invest their money.
3. Your content offer must be relevant to your mission.
For example, it doesn’t make sense for a breast cancer awareness foundation or humanitarian organization to give away the Texas Almanac as a free offer. But this offer has meaning when it comes from the Texas State Historical Association.
There are all kinds of offers out there that you could give away, but you have to ensure that they line up with what your cause it about.
One of my favorite places to find an offer is to walk to the receptionist’s desk at a nonprofit organization. Most of the time there are pamphlets and written content like magazines or books that never make their way into the digital world. We can digitize those products and offer them because they have value packed inside.
Hopefully these parameters help you begin to understand what it takes to create an effective offer. Target your offers to your ideal donor. Make sure your offer delivers more value than it costs. And make sure your offer is relevant to your mission.
And if you want to learn more about how to use your offer to acquire new donors, take a look at my eBook, Turning Likes Into Donors. It will walk through the steps to setting up a Facebook advertising campaign to target your likely donors and influence them to give a gift.