By Perry Esler, Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals:
Tell a story – give the number. That’s the simple, best-practise, message we share with hundreds of radio people every year at stations across North America. It works. $450M raised since 1998 for our partner children’s hospitals. Great stories with a great pitch means lots of calls to the donor hot line.
Now there’s research that shows we might be able to increase pledges off those calls by how we greet the donor. Philanthropic psychologist Jen Shang has released a study that shows five words tied to moral qualities prompt larger donations.
The Indiana University Professor tested her theory at an appeal of public radio station WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana. The phone volunteers answered by thanking the caller and then they would randomly pick two of the five words to describe the caller. It sounded something like this: ‘Thanks for calling. You’re a caring and compassionate donor.’ In the end female donors gave, on average, 10% more. By contrast the use of these adjectives had no impact on men. Suffice to say since most donors to our radiothons are women this may be worth a try.
Many events still don’t script their phone volunteers, but this study should be enough to convince you otherwise.
Here is a recent interview we at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals conducted with Professor Shang about the study. It concludes that a focus on the connection between moral identity and an individuals cause might create a higher ROI than focusing solely on the cause