Thursday, October 16, 2008

Be careful with anecdote

"Donors are not giving because of the economy". I have heard this from those on the frontline - telefundraisers and face to face advocates.

If you hear this, don't take it on face value (yet). NON-DONORs will jump on this excuse, just like any other. Check the figures carefully before making any decisions.

If / when things do get bad, phone and face-to-face will pick it up first. We will monitor this and let you know what is happening. Our Australian phone agency (Pareto Phone) will be looking at the data there carefully. We would love other phone and face-to-face agencies to post their findings too.

If you have such data, email me what you know and I will post it, or send me a link.


1 comment:

jjulien said...

This is a common phenomenon with both face to face and telephone fundraising. It has to do with the brain's tendency to group events and assign more importance to proportionately larger groups.

Here's an example: You're calling donors who gave 1-3 months ago for an additional gift. The most common reason for no will be that they just gave; it might be 50% of the people who don't give.

Calling donors who haven't given in 2 years, you'll get 4-6 common but evenly spaced reasons for no, with the largest group making up maybe 30% of the non-givers.

Even though more people will generally give in the recent group, callers will say "No one is giving! Everyone just donated!" This will be true even when the yes % in the first group is 20% and in the no group is 10%.

So, when dealing with media when you get to hear for the reason for no, remember that clustered reasons for no will cause people to feel like the campaign is less successful, even when it's making good money.