People assume that the AOG natural position is this: Premiums suck.
Notepads, pens, shirts, bags, labels, stickers, cards… yah. I would agree. More often than not, those premiums suck. They are often used in acquisition and to me are the equivalent of spotting a friendly looking person across a room and shoving flowers and chocolates in their face and demanding they go out with you.
And that approach might just work, in fact, it works a lot because humans are generally nice and when someone gives us something (even if we don’t want it) we feel a natural desire to reciprocate. But those aren’t the donors I want.
Some premiums don’t suck.
A client asked recently if they should offer a beautiful anniversary pin as a back end premium (you get it after you give) to those who give a certain dollar amount.
Any premium that is given with your donor in mind, and might serve some sort of purpose for them or makes them feel cherished, (think something simple to produce like an informative poster or bookmark) is a good premium.
The key question you have to ask yourself is: would I – as your donor – want a pin (or shirt, or pen, or notepad, or label, etc) that is celebrating your birthday? I would suggest that some of the most loyal donors and volunteers just might – they have been a part of that – but I’m not sure about the regular or average donor.
In this situation, my suggestion would be to offer it.
When we develop the gift array, we can make sure that the magical amount is highlighted and add a check box that says if you give this amount or higher, if you wish, we will send you our special pin… donors can then decide if they even want it.
The only other consideration is; I have seen average response rate drop when donors don’t really want that premium (i.e. they give less money just so you DON’T send them that crappy pen).
For a final thought, you could just make a decision for any donor that gives “$X”, you will send the pin along with their thank you letter and receipt, and then your donor will have a surprise factor when they get it. They got a nice thing for being an important part of your organization and its history, and in that context, it would be mostly good feelings all the way…