[Theforum] treasurer's report II

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Sat Nov 16 02:30:53 CST 2002

On 15 Nov 2002, seb potter wrote:

> > Has there been any further discussion about the "Wall of Fame"? I can't
> > remember if it was here or on the thesite that it was being discussed, but I
> > thought it was a good idea. We could set up a wall of fame for donors that
> > want to be on it - maybe with a link to their sites... That might convince
> > some companies to donate.... I know I'd love to be on the "Wall of Fame". It
> > might also get people to compete to donate the most, even if it's just in a
> > sub-conscious kind of way - "ohhh John Smith donated $50, I'll have to do
> > better than that".
> >
> > It doesn't have to be a fancy tracking system. You could just say, if you
> > want to be listed on the "Wall of Fame" then write your name and web address
> > in the comments box on the PayPal site or send an email to
> > whatever at evolt.org.
> Sounds kinda like advertising and sponsorship.

Advertising and sponsorship are quite different beasts. With sponsorship,
you get a name, not an advert. Think about the difference between a news
story about "The FA Carling Premiership results" and a Carling TV ad.

> The more you pay, the more recognition you get

That's how most (not all) successful fundraising campaigns work. And they
do so because they've taken the pragmatic decision that it brings in more
money, without ceding control to the donors. Give 10 million quid to
pretty much any UK university and you'll get a building named after you if
that's what you want.

Look at almost every single donor campaign of a successful UK charity and
they will have different levels of donor corresponding on some level with
Gold, Silver, Bronze and Ordinary.

In any personal charitable donation, what you get back is a psychological
payoff. Recognition is the hardest currency it can be paid in.

We could easily set up the rules such that commercial donors only get a
name, not any kind of image (so no banners) and no ad copy. Also that
commercial donors of a certain size need to pay more to get the same
recognition that a small company or an individual gets.

> Not that I'm against this, but the whole idea of evolt was to get away
> from the kind of culture that such financing brings.

I think different people had slightly different understandings of exactly
what this meant (which is fine and to be expected).

> I'm all in favour of the MIT financing model. No favouritism, just
> (preferably anonymous) donations to help ensure that good stuff keeps
> coming out.

Hard question: If the choice came between having the services we have now
and that financing model, which would be more important to you? And do our
members share the same choice?

> More to the point, if people can see that others are donating larger and
> larger sums, they tend to feel that there's less need for them to become
> involved.

Surprisingly, if pitched right, this doesn't actually happen, mostly
because you don't get a single modal donation level which is forever
increasing. You tend to get several levels, with the lower ones being much
more frequent.

So when setting up a donor system, you make sure that there are
appropriate levels for everyone to give at that they feel they can make a
difference. If set up right, you get the absolute opposite of what you're
expecting - people see that more and more others are donating full stop,
and that that's the normal thing for evolt members to do. If you're
showing donation amounts, they will see that there are many different
levels that people donate at, including one that they're OK with.

(the former fundraiser)
"Names, once they are in common use, quickly
 become mere sounds, their etymology being
 buried, like so many of the earth's marvels,
 beneath the dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie

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