The holiday season is here. A time for decorations, family, vacations and charity. Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed several holiday giving anecdotes that were great reminders of pricing, value and sales tactics that can apply to any time of year whether you’re a non-profit or for-profit organization. Enjoy!
Know your customer. At a recent toy drive my wife attended, adults began sorting new and used toys into price categories that ranged from $1 to $5 based on their best guess of the toy’s retail price (cost-based pricing, anyone?). Soon, kids (not unlike the target recipients) began helping with the sort, and they used decidedly different criteria. One boy moved a low-cost toy into the $5 category because it was heavy and large. A girl moved a low-cost toy into the $5 category because it could transform into three toys and “do many things.” Finally, a boy sorted a $50 electronic toy without batteries into the $1 pile because “it didn’t work.”
The lesson? Talk to your customers and find out what they care about to inform product and pricing decisions. You may discover you’re able to inexpensively provide high-value solutions, or perhaps you’ll avoid the pitfall of investing heavily in complex products that are missing key simplicities.
Communicate your value. The right messaging is important to make sales or get donations, but customers and donors often look for other signals that your “product” is a good one. Nothing says “other people appreciate me” like the clear plastic donation container filled with $20 bills I saw at a recent fundraiser. Not only does this transparently communicate value, but also adds a pinch of healthy peer pressure.
Ignore renewals at your peril. Holden’s clients typically generate 80%+ of their revenue from existing customers, and non-profit donations often follow similar patterns. Each holiday season, my alma mater proactively sends me a reminder of my prior year’s contribution and asks that I not only renew my commitment but increase my donation by a reasonable percentage. Similarly, you should reach out to your customers in advance of their renewal date to better understand how you can solve additional problems for them and mutually strengthen your partnerships.
Lastly, if your holiday giving was influenced by any strategies mentioned above, you’re probably better off for it. In fact, several research studies have concluded that generosity increases happiness and may have positive impacts on health and life expectancy. I encourage you to think about a cause you care about and donate your money or time this holiday season, and best wishes on a happy and fruitful 2019.
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