Ask Yourself: “What’s In It For The Donor?
Ask Yourself: “What’s In It For The Donor?

Al Franken, the comedian and former U.S. senator from Minnesota, had a routine on the television show “Saturday Night Live” when he punctuated commentaries with this phrase: “What’s in it for me, Al Franken.”

The simple concept is benefit. The challenge for nonprofit managers is applying the concept of benefit to fundraising and marketing. There are many types of benefits. It can be for you, a family member or friend, someone you don’t know but for whom you have compassion; an idea for your religion or values, or finally, for the country.

Direct response pioneer and guru Richard Viguerie sat with a friend, Kevin Gentry, during 2020 to discuss nonprofit fundraising and marketing. The result was a 40-page booklet titled “Viguerie’s Four Horsemen of Marketing.”

The benefit can be of Biblical proportions. Viguerie and Gentry cited Proverbs 29:18 — “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” In fundraising terms, the marketing will fall short – fail – if your benefit is too small, not clear, and not well stated. The benefit you offer must be specific, obvious, and clear. That better known phrase is KISS — an industry term – keep it simple, stupid. 

You can offer something tangible, such as an autographed book, a membership card or a recognition of status, the wrote. If you’ve checked into a hotel and have a platinum card, then you understand the concept of recognition. Something less tangible could be making the point that the donor is making a difference.

Viguerie and Gentry opined that “there are lots of potential funders out there who are ready to invest in good causes.” Americans understand grassroots and are very engaged. Leadership will more organizations forward.

To receive a copy of the booklet, send an email to kgentry@standtogether.org