Bed & Bread asks donors to give $10 a month in a recurring gift program for at least one year. The Club has been quite successful, with 19,000 people now donating that $10 a month.
About 70% percent of those donors exceed the minimum and many give additional gifts as well. Run by local Salvation Army affiliates, the program has been quietly effective for 25 years, bringing in more than $100 million nationally over that time span.
The Bed & Bread program provides a very simple thing...a place to sleep and a meal for one homeless person.
It was really the idea of a woman who raised funds for a Kansas City rescue mission. She sent 4,000 letters out initially and got back more than $300,000 for her rescue mission. She eventually shared her idea with the Salvation Army.
The story of the Bed & Bread Club is a lovely and heart warming one, but what resonated with me is its sheer simplicity. These elements make it all work:
- A simple and achievable goal - one bed, one meal. A goal that is easily imagined leads to quicker commitment and more satisfaction for donors.
- A community - join the club. Belonging to a "club" confers a sense of exclusivity, something that everyone enjoys. Most "clubs" are associated with wealthy people. This one offers that exclusive feeling for donors who only have a small amount to give.
- A modest donation that almost anyone can manage - $10 each month, resulting in an impressive total of $120 a year.
Social science research suggests that when people only have a small amount to give, they can easily discount it and not give at all. Monthly giving can magnify a small donation into a large one, leading to donor satisfaction.
It's no longer unique, but it still works, because it is simple, achievable, and makes even the most modest donor feel good.
Although I did not know about the Bed and Bread Club, I participate in several $10 a month programs that are similar...yep, I support a dog, buy bed nets, and sponsor children through recurring gift programs.
Do you have similar giving programs? How are you making donating achievable for everyone?
Photo: Chris Thomaidis/Getty Images