I get a lot of nonprofit solicitations, and it’s not often that one really grabs me. This one did. It was from the March of Dimes, and what grabbed me was how different it was from the others.
Usually, I get dimes and address labels. Sometimes I get dimes and a notepad. Sometimes I just get stickers or notepads with no dimes. Yesterday, I got two inserts — one with a newborn in NICU with tubes attached all over his sweet face. The second was the same boy at the age of nine, with a visual impairment issue in one eye but otherwise smiling and healthy. The text informed me that the procedure that saved his life was one The March of Dimes had funded.
I give to the organization once a year, so most of the time, the mailings do not produce a donation. This one did.
What struck me, too, was the number of different tactics the organization has tried on me over the years. When I looked back, the realization was not that the nonprofit had been experimenting on me all along (because of course it had), but the level of effort it had gone to do so. It tried different tactics at different times, seeing what I responded to. When I wasn’t responding, it tried something else until it found the trigger that worked.
The March of Dimes has been persistent, and its persistence paid off. It wasn’t in your face. In fact, the testing was so subtle as almost to be unnoticed, and in the end, it worked.
It makes me wonder, how persistent do you encourage your clients to be? Is testing a once and done event? Something they do once a year? Or is it part of an ongoing strategy of continual improvement? If the former, perhaps it’s time to turn it into a strategic effort.