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Donna Wilkins, Otis Fulton and Robyn Mendez at Nonprofit Pro P2P in Baltimore

I just wrapped up a great session with Otis Fulton and Robyn Mendez at Nonprofit Pro P2P in Baltimore speaking about how theories, data and strategies give us insight in the strategies for our event programs.  Otis brought great insights on human behavior and motivation from his background as a psychologist and consultant, Robyn shared the strategies of MD Anderson’s new signature event The Boot Walk and I shared insights on the data we’ve collected through our Boundless Fundraising™ suite. Together we shared an interesting picture on priorities and strategies that support peer-to-peer programs and things for all of us to keep in mind for our day-to-day work.  Some of the take-aways:

  • Keep your relationship with your participants and donors a social relationship vs. a market relationship. Keep them participating because they want to support your cause, not because they’re receiving something.
  • When using incentives always make them branded with your organization’s brand and logos, not something they can put a price tag on. Otherwise you’ve just put a price on their support.
  • The most important person to see your event t-shirt is the person wearing it. If the person doesn’t like your shirt, they’re not going to wear it. Make your shirt something that’s comfortable and appropriate to wear; not a billboard for your organization.
  • Set guidelines for your event culture and criteria and use these as a litmus test when you’re unsure how to go forward. MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Boot Walk’s principals are: It’s a fundraising event, volunteer driven, inclusive, transparent and not for sale.
  • Boundless Fundraising suite has apps for both smart phones and tablets. They’re both successful in driving donations, and we can gain additional insights by the behavior patterns. Average gift amounts for gifts requested through the iPhone app are about 5% less than those requested through the iPad. Demographics of iPad users vs. iPhone users may be some of the story. Digging a little deeper we find that donations are more often requested through Facebook on an iPhone whereas iPad users are more likely to send an email. The ability to be more focused and craft a more detailed message on a tablet is likely a factor in the preferences. What other ways can we it easy for our participants to tell their full story and gain stronger results?

What does the Apple Watch hold for our future? Charity Dynamics is thinking about how to create experiences that help supporters put themselves in the lives of those impacted by your causes. Imagine an app that taps you when it’s time for your chemo treatment, time to take medication, time to call the insurance company again and all the ways that cancer touches someone’s life. Could this be an extension of someone shaving his or her head to support a friend going through cancer treatment?

All of these points have us stepping back and trying to understand the motivations of our participants and how we can create programs that support them in achieving their goals of supporting your cause. Let’s take the time to “hear” what they’re telling us based on motivations and behaviors.