Sometimes 3 Words Can Make All the Difference
Occasionally, when it’s blazing hot I think, “Hey. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in Alaska?” Usually, I think better of it – especially when I remember that Alaska has grizzly bears, and snow, and puddle jumpers. But I recently learned that they also have what’s called the “Alaska Permanent Fund.” The Fund “sets aside a certain share of oil revenues benefiting current and all future generations of Alaskans.” Last year, all Alaskans received $1,884 – just for living in Alaska! So come on everybody, there’s free money to be had…let’s go!
But there’s more to learn from the Permanent Fund other than a spectacular give away. When you apply for the Fund, residents are also given the opportunity to donate and help their fellow Alaskans in need. According to Market Smart, this fund has already raised $3 million from over 33,000 Alaskans.
Here’s the interesting thing. In order to determine the core message for the campaign, the residents were split into two groups with a different “donate now” prompt:
- Option A: “Make Alaska Better”
- Option B: “Warm Your Heart” (which included a heart icon)
Can you guess which one did better? Ding, ding, ding! You are correct! Hands down, Option B. 30% more people hit the “donate now” button that said “Warm Your Heart” and they gave gift amounts that were 55% higher.
What do the experts make of this? According to the folks at “Future Fundraising Now,”
- “Make Alaska Better” says, “Give because it’s a worthy cause.”
- “Warm Your Heart” says, “Give because it'll feel good.”
And once again, dear friends, we see that emotions and feelings matter. You may not like those rascally feelings and they might make you feel a little bit nervous. But believe me, those thousands of Alaskans who will benefit from the generosity of other Alaskans are very grateful for those three little words. “Warm Your Heart” moved people to give and to give more because it made them feel good. The words were focused on the person who was giving...not on the cause.
God loves a cheerful giver. That means that it’s OK for people in the pews to feel good about giving – especially if they are moved by the Spirit to do great things for God’s people. It’s just not a bad thing to feel better about yourself as you give your resources to the One who has given so abundantly.
P.S. I committed a cardinal error last week and gave someone a new identity. T.J. Putman gave a great quote about trying new technology while passing the offering plate. But in the post I gave him a last name that wasn’t his. Mea culpa. Here’s a link to Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network where he is the Executive Director. Maybe your church would be interested in starting something similar in your area.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is willing to accept any and all Alaskan salmon that you may have in your freezer. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.