In 1976, Dutch economist Peter van Westendorp introduced market researchers to the Price Sensitivity Meter — a technique for determining consumer price preferences. The approach uses a series of questions to uncover customers’ feelings about how “expensive” or “cheap” a product is priced.

One of his questions is, “At what price would you consider the product to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good?”

Our friend Joe Churpek at Analytical Ones recently modified this question for non-profits. In his blog post he describes his research in which he asked, “What is the minimum gift you could make to an organization and actually make a difference?”

His results should make you rethink how you price your ask array.

Here are the mean responses broken down by age group:

Donors ages 35-55: $171
Donors ages 55-70: $68
Donors ages 70+: $35

As Joe put it in his post: The $10 donor is dead.

Even worse, you might be completely putting off Boomers receiving your acquisition promotions, because the ask is too low to take you seriously. Research shows that Boomers are more selective in the number of organizations they support because they want to invest where they can make the biggest impact.

Here are 3 things you should test in your next acquisition:

  1. Age append your direct mail lists. Then digitally print variable ask arrays where the mid asks roughly match the learnings from this research.
  2. Segment your Facebook prospects by age so they are directed to donation pages with ask arrays at the right level.
  3. Build age into the behavioral targeting of your programmatic advertising so that the offer in your creative and landing pages matches generational perceptions of value.

Next time you go to price an offer or ask array, make sure to ask yourself what the price points might say about your organization and the difference a donor can really make.

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Mark Neigh

Mark Neigh

Mark is a curious observer, turning misfit insights into innovative ideas. He draws from his experience as a Digital Strategist for Fortune 500 companies (LEGO, Nintendo) and forward-thinking non-profits (Feeding America, Prison Fellowship) to expertly use digital media to further our clients’ missions to change the world.

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