Never make donors wait

8 Oct


Last night my family and I went to my daughter’s school to get tacos from a local restaurant that was set to give a portion of proceeds (buying tacos, etc.) to my daughters school. This form of giving is prevalent and popular.

“Buy <thing> and we will give a portion of your purchase to <cause name>. Simple and easy to understand. How much it really raises versus profits and benefits to the merchant is debatable and of little use really. It’s a great way to give on a daily basis if the opportunity presents itself.

Yet, I won’t buy things I don’t need just to give a gift and in some cases I’d like to give more when I know the cause like I do my daughter’s school obviously.

After we parked and walked towards the food truck – why the taco vendor chose a truck to handle the volume I’ll never know – several really agitated parents walked by complaining out loud and without provocation.

“Don’t bother going over there. We gave up after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting.”

I was pretty taken aback by the negative buzz around the parking lot and then I saw THE LINE.

THE LINE was long and it was getting dark. I looked at my wife and said we need to eat now so we can get back home and our daughter can do homework and so we don’t strand our dog without a bathroom break.

So we left. No share of proceeds from us. Opportunity missed.

My mind then drifted as we went to get pizza elsewhere about how nonprofits make donors wait in line and how they offer experiences that widen the distance between a donor’s impulse to give and them actually making a gift.

The longer the process the wider the gap. Making a donor wait to give is not advised and in every facet of accepting donations examples of waiting can be seen.

3 pages or more to make an online gift is too many.

Making donors find their checkbook and a stamp is time consuming. Just like standing in line for a taco.

At every touch point the ability for frictionless, easy and secure giving must be presented. No lines or lengthy forms or licking envelopes.

I know my sentiments are not held by all and that all forms of giving work, just like waiting in a line for an hour and 15 minutes would have worked last night but it didn’t.

The bottom line is giving is an impulse and with the donor’s phone in their hand pretty much 24 X 7 X 365 giving in 20 seconds is what you want and for the donor it means no line and instant gratification at having done a small (or large) part in making the world a better place for those in need.

2 Responses to “Never make donors wait”

  1. Gary Bukowski CFRE October 10, 2014 at 8:44 AM #

    Article was right on target,for those who did get a taco and make that contribution,would be interesting how folks were thanked for their gift and waiting in line..

    • daleknoop October 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM #

      Thanks Gary. We didn’t hang around since the vibe was very negative and, as I mentioned, I had a hungry family and math homework for my daughter waiting at home. 🙂

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