Metro’s largest charity has been getting complaints about their latest fundraising program which features visits from a strange little man who threatens to take away donors’ babies if they don’t renew their pledge.
“We’ve had a few calls,” admits Metro Community Trust CEO Dibble Snidely. “But that’s sometimes the price you pay when you introduce something new and successful. This new program has tripled our monthly fundraising. Donors are obviously giving to it. How wrong can it be?”
The program began last spring when a strange, elf-like creature approached the Trust with an offer to increase fundraising revenues. At first, Snidely says they were skeptical, but then they heard how successful the program has been in New York and Chicago.
“This strange little man, whose name we can’t reveal, we call him Bob, had an equally strange presentation. He just appeared out of thin air and started talking in his creepy little voice about spinning straw into gold and we were mesmerized,” said Snidely.
“Bob” said that he had created a total pledge engagement solution that would yield almost 99 percent renewals. This was welcome news to the Trust, which has seen pledge renewals drop 50 percent over the last three years. Last year, a quarter of the Trust’s donor pledges were not renewed or fulfilled.
The program involved personal face-to-face renewal meetings between “Bob” and key donors. In the past, the Trust found these were counter-productive, but “Bob” promised his approach would be different.
“We found that when we went to talk to people about renewal they hemmed and hawed and didn’t really appreciate us reminding them of their promise,” said Snidely. “But Bob said his approach of threatening to take their babies away, and in some cases doing so, would be much more effective. And darn it, that smelly, creepy little guy was right.”
The only catch was that for some reason which “Bob” couldn’t explain if donors could correctly guess his real name he would be forced to disappear. Snidely didn’t think that was a problem since no one at the Trust knew his name, which supposedly sounds something like “Pumpernickel”. Snidely said “Bob” seldom talked about himself, although many people reported seeing him late at night dancing around a fire and singing a strange song in the wooded area outside the Trust’s office building.
“Bob” started by visiting some of the most notoriously unreliable donors, including Mildred and Sid Moneybags, who haven’t met a single pledge target in the past decade. He came back with a series of cheques to cover off past renewals and a further pledge of $100,000 over ten years. Instead of asking for major recognition as they had the past, the Moneybags only requested that “Bob” not ever visit them again and stop sending them “presents” to their 1 year old daughter Kate.
Other visits followed and more renewals came in. Soon, most major donors had renewed.
“It was amazing to see Bob work. His message got through to them. And no one ever guessed his real name,” said Snidely. “The only thing that really bothers me is what he wanted to do with those babies. But I’ve come to learn that one should never question the logical of fairy tale creatures. And besides, we’re ahead of our revenue projections. So, who cares?”