“Would You Like to Add a Dollar?”

You have a business and you like to give. Then give, but be wary of the “add a dollar” for the giant, one big reason in the room: it distracts from what you do. How much does it cost you to get a customer in your door? How much does it cost to service that customer? Do you really want to take all that advertisement money, time, and labor and now talk about something that is NOT your business?

In all likelihood, there are thousands of businesses that do what you do. You have to stand out. You have to be the model of what your clientele want. You have to almost make it a lifestyle choice to go with you as opposed to the competition. Well it’s like watching a movie, if someone opens their cell phone to text in the middle of that movie; you are no longer in the story. You’re back in a theater eating over-priced candy and wondering why that text couldn’t wait. Do you want to do that to your customers? Do you want them out of the story that you are selling to talk about something else?

I give. My entire business model is based on giving. I want you to give to. But there is a huge difference between having a sign in your business that says “Your business here helps treat sick puppies” and saying to your customer, “Would you like to add a dollar to help sick puppies?” Customers like to give, but they know you are passing the buck. Actually you are passing the request for a buck onto them. And what’s worse is that if they frequent your place of business (wait, isn’t that a good thing?) they get peppered with this Guilt Sale every time they come in. I might like to add $1, but not three times a week. Just give me the Coke and the Twizzlers and let me go about my happy life.

I don’t want to dread going to a place I shop. If I do, I’ll eventually leave.

80% of clients will brand jump from something they are loyal to and go to a secondary brand if that brand gives and lets the customer know that they give. That means when I am buying dog food for my beloved snub-nosed Boston Terrier Roxie; I will leave Kibbles ‘n Bits (my norm, er… her norm) and buy Alpo if Alpo has a big sign on the bag that says every sale donates to help sick puppies (them again). But that is a positive. The ball is in my court, but it’s passive. The interaction didn’t put me on the spot. It was a natural sale that organically moved me to a product I don’t normally support. And yes, the number grows to 90% chance of a brand jump if I am a Mom or a Millennial. 90%.




But do not conflate the two styles of donation requests. “Alpo Gives” as a scenario is the same as “Your Business here Supports Sick Puppies”. Positive feeling. Good feeling. You know, this business aligns itself with my lifestyle kind of feeling. I am going to be here a little more often as this place makes me feel good kind of feeling. “Would you like to add a dollar?” breaks that positive cycle, and asking the customer “Would you like to add a dollar?” the next time they are in smashes it on the floor.

Again, don’t stop giving. Don’t believe the spy movies/ action movies when the bad guy is a business person. Small businesses donate the majority of contributions in the US every day. We are the unsung powerhouses of giving. Let’s not damage customer relationships by trying to give, but build the relationship where our clients celebrate us for giving. How? It starts with, “Your Business Here Helps…” and then insert your worthy cause.