What’s my itch?

Regular giving recruitment is tough. Often it feels like face-to-face or nothing. For many this is true. For some there are alternatives.

What if you had something of value to offer members of the public? Important information that satisfies an urge (let’s call it an ‘itch’), that also provides an opportunity to contact that person, fulfil delivery of the information they’ve requested, and then using that follow up phone call as an opportunity, tell them more about the problems you solve and ask them to support regularly?

But it isn’t for everyone. To see if this is right for you, ask yourself the following questions.

Do you have an ‘itch and scratch’?

Nope, this doesn’t refer to a bad case of chicken pox or ringworm. A good ‘value exchange’ proposition will acknowledge the prospect’s anxiety over a certain issue (i.e. the ‘itch’) and provide a solution to alleviate that anxiety (you got it, the ‘scratch’).

RSPCA’s Pet First Aid Guide is a great example of this. The itch is a pet owner’s concern that they might be unprepared for an emergency situation (e.g. choking) and that they won’t know what to do to save their pet’s life.

The scratch is provided in a small and comprehensive Pet First Aid Guide, which outlines a few common pet emergencies and first aid principles. All the important information is contained in one place, and can be easily carried and used by pet owners if they are out and about, or when they have no access to the Internet.


How strong is your ‘itch’?

Do I absolutely need it? A pet owner would probably argue yes: it\’s critical I know what to do if my dog is choking or bitten by a venomous snake. Successful campaigns of this type need to include ‘must have’ information, not simply a ‘nice to have’.RSPCA have recruited around 16,000 regular givers over the past three years, with around 170,000 guides being fulfilled to Aussie households.Proving the guide really is a ‘must have’, they’ve also received countless testimonials from people who have shared beautiful stories about how the information has helped them and their furry friends, in many instances literally saving lives.


Do enough people want it?

With a population of just 25m in Australia, think about whether enough people are likely to need what you’re offering. If not, the numbers likely won’t stack up.Consider the following:

  • 70% of Aussie households own a pet.
  • 50% of the population are women
  • Everyone in Australia is exposed to melanoma

Why are these statements important? Because each of them uncovers some insight into an itch that could be scratched. Whether that’s providing first aid for Aussie pets, giving away tips on how to regularly self-check for breast cancer (see example below) or helping reduce the incidence of skin cancer, all are issues that affect enough of the Australian population.


Are you getting people at the right time?  

Dwell time is key here. Am I exposed to the ad repeatedly (your twice daily work commute on the train), or at a time when I’d otherwise be trawling Facebook or channel surfing?

Winners: direct response TV, out of home advertising (specifically transit as above but also shopping centres; yes ladies, you text a lot when using the toilet), digital (mainly Facebook, emailing prospects, sticking it on your website, getting others to promote it for you).

Waste of time: digital screens (they move), ferries (much more exciting things to see), bus shelters (people are infuriated at how late their bus is) and anything that seems too good to be true/free (it is too good to be true/free for a reason).

And lastly, is this a core part of what you do? 

The offer to present should reflect part of what your charity does. In the case of the Pet First Aid Guide, this falls within RSPCA’s mission to educate pet owners across Australia about animal welfare and safety.

Whilst not essential, it certainly helps if this is a core part of what you do, being able to draw a strong link between the information you provide and the charity’s key purpose will ensure the telephone call is natural and smooth in comparison to other fundraising calls.

Is there a value exchange campaign staring me in the face?

Use the above as a checklist. If you’re unsure on any of them, probably not. But if you can raise your hands and shout ‘yes’ to all of these questions, stick them up there and give yourself a whoot-whoot, because you can move onto the next phase of the campaign: getting on with it!

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