I was intrigued last Thursday when my husband, Sean, reported back how he had given–albeit indirectly–$100 to SaveDarfur.org.
It all came about when he referred a friend to a professional coach. This coach, like many professional services folks, gifts referral sources with a token of his appreciation. In the same vein, a colleague of mine generously thanked me for a referral with an Amazon gift certificate.
But Sean’s friend offered him the choice of a block of coaching, a gift certificate or a contribution to the charity of his choice. So Save Darfur it was.
This all got me to thinking what a great opportunity there is for your nonprofit to capitalize on the practice of referral gifts. Some ideas on how you can get the word out:
- Suggest the idea, or giving a gift contribution, in all fundraising materials (and others, this might appeal to non-traditional donors).
- Outline the benefits:
- By offering to make a charitable gift, the referral recipient is perceived as a good citizen, further burnishing his or her reputation.
- The gift recipient (or honoree, in the case of a contribution) feels great, and is likely to spread the word (which benefits the giver, as well as your organization).
- Craft a few case studies and testimonials (from the charitable gift givers — aka referral recipient — and honorees — who made the referral) over the first year, and share them via your organization’s website and donor e-newsletter, as well as in the PS of your giving campaigns.
- When you’re ready to really get the word out, contact local affiliates of professional organizations that serve coaches, financial advisors, CPAs, realtors and attorneys.
- Find a way to get your referral reward contribution pitch into their e-news or meeting agenda.
- Ask those who take you up on the idea to spread the word to colleagues.
Let me know what happens. I thinks there’s a real opportunity out there to generate referral gifts. Make sure your nonprofit grabs it before your competitors do.
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