Getting your donors to do what they always do is not that much of a big deal. Asking a $3,600 donor to give you $3,600 shouldn’t be much of a challenge.
Getting that same $3,600 donor, to give you $36,000 is going to take a different effort.
Seth Godin, in his most recent book This is Marketing, calls it Pattern Match/Pattern Interrupt.
With the $3,600 donor, you are not changing their pattern of giving when you ask them for another $3,600. This is why it is relatively simple to do.
This is a ‘Pattern Match.’
The donation they give is consistent with the story they tell themselves about your organization or organizations like yours. This is the expected donation you will get.
You can almost predict it. I imagine you already have a picture in your head of your donors who fit this pattern.
Getting this donor to give you $36K is a ‘Pattern Interrupt.’ It requires some kind of jolt to make it happen. What jolt can you give your donors?
I have a client who is raising $1M+.
He has a large number of donors who are giving him $10K a year. They are consistently giving this amount. He wanted to know how he could get them to give $50K+.
He thought if he just invested more in the relationship, that would be what is needed to get them to increase.
Here’s the thing. Most of the time the answer is no. This is because the pattern has already been established. Their time is precious and there is a risk in taking this new position.
As Seth Godin points out, you need to undo the existing pattern before you can earn forward motion with the new level donation.
So how do you do that?
When you reach out to someone who does not have a pattern yet, you don’t have to persuade them that their old choices were a mistake.
For example, when they are outside of your existing donor mold of $3,600 givers. They don’t have a pattern to match.
Or when something changes for the donor, you get a pattern interrupt.
That’s why when you meet someone who has just started making a large income, someone who has recently sold their business, or inherited a large sum, these people don’t have established norms.
Or when you reach out to people who are not your standard mid-sized donor profile, then you can achieve outcomes that are not mid-sized donations.
As the saying goes, if you want different results, do something different.
What can you do differently?
You can present a new project to a donor. Give the donor a part in your story that is radically different than in the past.
That is interrupting a pattern.
Or, make someone a board member. Honor a donor at a dinner. Give a donor an engaged role in your organization.
All of these interrupt the established pattern.
If you present a plan that will be a game changer to the target population you serve, or if you’re bold enough to break new ground in your area of expertise, you’ll create a tension that will be a pattern interrupt for some of your donors.
If you want to upgrade your fundraising and make your biggest impact, then you have to think and act out of your comfort zone.
Be bold. What patterns can you interrupt today?
B’hatzlacha raba raba!
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Avraham Lewis is the fundraising coach for busy Jewish leaders who need a clear system for raising much more.