The Key Flaw in Natural Disaster Relief Fundraising

Author: Cedric Richner, CFRE

In the wake of the spate of hurricanes this season, disaster relief organizations have repeatedly asked for $10 through the increasingly popular “Text-to-Give” technique.  The $10 ask is the primary flaw in the strategy.

A primary axiom of the fundraising profession is to ask for a specific amount of money.  A low ask amount virtually ensures a small gift.

Many prospective donors could give much more than $10, but the soliciting organizations have chosen to promote a fundraising strategy that typically caps donations due to carrier or third party partner regulations.

The result is two negative, unintended consequences:  The organization communicates that $10 is the preferred amount and that a $10 donation is creating the desired impact, even though larger amounts would provide more benefit for those in need.

It would be better to ask donors for “$25, $50, $100, $250, $500, or an amount that is personally meaningful.”  Through this approach, the organization would be sending a valuable message to the public:  Act for the greater good in accordance with your financial capacity to do so.