I was reading an article about a new startup called Washboard. Washboard sends $20 of quarters a month to subscribers for the low cost of $26.99. At first thought, who in their right mind would pay $27 for something worth $20? Then I thought a little more and realized I went to Whole Foods today saw some Romaine lettuce for $2.49 which I purchased from another local store for $.99 the previous night. Now I’m sure the romaine lettuce at Whole Foods is far superior to the lettuce I got, but do you think it’s worth a 250% premium? What about the cost of a 16 oz water from the corner store vs the Costco 35 pack for a couple dollars more. How many times have you gone out to a street fair/market/bar that only accepts cash and end up paying $3 in ATM charges + $3 in bank fees for that quick cash? What if theÂ two foundersÂ at Washboard are on to something? How much of a premium do you or your benefactors put on convenience?
[image from Washboard.co] Now let’s touch on the main proposition that Washboard is selling. They are gambling that you are finding yourself out of quarters and that in turn you are using a laundry service, so by having quarters on hand you’re SAVING money by not using the laundry service. In that case, it is a money saving proposition, but I have a feeling in many cases the average washboard subscriber dislikes going out of their way to a bank just to get a roll or two of quarters.
How does this relate to your nonprofit or charity? It relates because as marketers our ideas need to stay fresh and engage our community. Have you personally updated the fundraising expectations or are you still doing the same bake sales and car washes that your predecessor had. I know that personally I probably wouldn’t sign up for a service like Washboard because I pass by a number of banks walking around my neighborhoodÂ daily so I don’t feel the pain of being out of quarters. But, I would be MUCH more open to a service like Washboard if my favorite charity received a portion of the proceeds.
There are already a number of successful charities that have embraced this concept of convenience and ran with it in different methods. (More than willing to add more to this list, just send me a message if you have an example you’d like to share).
Father Joe’s Villages – Local San Diego charity that raises money by hauling away cars then auctioning them to support homeless.
Ebay – Offering digital icons to show that a portion of proceeds from online auctions can be donated to charities.
NALC – Stamp Our Hunger National Food Drive (Largest one day food drive in the nation).
Salvation Army – Schedule pickup of household items via phone or online.
How can you help your nonprofit to create a win win situation with donors by making their lives easier. What benefits (intangible like Ebay) can you offer that might help the donors. Now I’m not suggesting you run out and try to partner with Washboard or any specific company, but what I am suggesting is that you evaluate whatÂ unique things that your nonprofit can do to attract additional funding, engage your community, and improve lives.
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