Leap Year Lesson #345: Make People Want to Give

Posted: December 11, 2012 in Giving
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Driver Oriol Servia, Jeff Ross & Humana CEO Mike McCallister

Driver Oriol Servia, Jeff Ross & Humana CEO Mike McCallister

I participated in an unusual and enjoyable charitable event today.  Indianapolis 500 race car driver Oriol Servia spent time at our company headquarters raising funds for the organization Racing for Kids.

There were two ways to participate and contribute.  One was to donate $15 in order to have your photo taken while standing by one of the two Indy cars there with Servia on one side of you and our company CEO on the other.  That’s the route I took (pictured here).  The other option was to donate $100 in exchange for a very fast but once-in-a-lifetime ride around our block in downtown Louisville in the other Indy car driven by Servia.  There was no shortage of men and women waiting in line to pay $100 for that one-minute experience.

People ask you and me for donations all the time, from homeless people on the street to unsolicited phone calls, mail, email, churches, plus a host of others on TV and various media.  Today’s experience made me think about the approach solicitors take to request donations.

How often has someone tried to get you to give by making you feel guilty?  How often has some story (of questionable authenticity) been told to tug at your heart and drain your wallet?  How many times have you heard the same old tired sermons trying to use a few verses out of context to guilt you into giving a certain percentage of your income only to that church?  How effective are the above methods with you?

Contrast that with today’s example where people were lining up to pay $15 for a 15-second photo or $100 for a ride around the block.  People wanted to give today and even signed up in advance to do so, myself included.

Think about that the next time you solicit funds.  I’ll give a pass to the homeless person on style and wow-factor points.  As for the rest of us, it looks like we can still learn a thing or two about effective fund-raising.

Leap year lesson #345 is Make people want to give.

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