Budgeting for Fundraising
Improving Cause Marketing Results: Employee Training
How to Test the Feasibility of Your Nonprofit's Capital Campaign

Improving Cause Marketing Results: Incentivizing

A lot of businesses reward their employees for performance, so don’t be surprised if you are asked, “Should we offer employees incentives for hitting specific fundraising goals?” Surely employees will respond to gift certificates, electronics, T-shirts, and food, right? But the reality is very different:

  • Unmotivated employees stay unmotivated. Even with incentives unmotivated employees won’t push the program. Indeed, their lack of motivation seemed to extend to just about every part of their lives!

  • Motivated employees don’t need incentives. These employees support the program because they want to and because they’re told to. They’re more motivated and disciplined and listen to their manager.

  • Motivated employees can be marginally motivated with incentives. Incentives can give motivated employees an extra boost to push the program. But you don’t need to give them much; $5 gift cards to Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts can do the trick. So does a pizza party for the winning store at the end of the program.

You should also know three more things about incentives:

  • You don’t need to pay for incentives. Getting incentives donated by various companies is easier than you think. You can recruit a pizza sponsor every year that gets a full sponsorship at one of your events in exchange for a supply of pizzas for incentives for your cause marketing partners. It’s worth it!

  • If this is your first program with a business, wait to offer incentives. See what happens. If the program does well, add the incentives to the next program to build on your success.

  • Sometimes the best incentive for store employees is an easy-to-execute program. Cashiers have enough to do at the register and are already asking customers if they need batteries, want to apply for a credit card, and so on.

    The last thing they want is a complicated cause marketing program to sell. Give them a simple, one-line pitch like “Would you like to donate a dollar to help a sick child?” If you can add coupons to the pinup to give consumers an extra incentive to donate a dollar, even better.

    Also consider a barcode on the back of the pinup so that the cashier can simply scan it into the register like any other item in the store. Removing obstacles and making things easy is an incentive employees will appreciate. And they’ll show their thanks by supporting your program.

Incentives work. You just need to know when to use them and with whom.

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