Regret Is A Terrible Thing to Waste
December 5, 2022
Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass
Are you less likely to do something again if you regret it?
Giving can produce regret and that regret makes me anticipate regret the next time I’m asked to give. And it’s that anticipated regret, caused by prior, experienced regret that makes me less likely to give again.
Habits cut both ways and we can make not giving a habit just as easily as giving.
That’s because regret isn’t baked into the cake. We unintentionally foster it with our appeals triggering the first gift, the giving experience itself and the post-giving one; anyone of which or a combination could foster that experienced regret.
Sell my name after I give and my inbox or mailbox floods with appeals from groups I’ve never heard of? Regret.
Make the giving experience hard. Regret.
We help all our clients collect feedback from donors after making an online donation to identify individual and global issues. This is the only way to know for sure if you’re leaving people psychologically satisfied and regret free.
You can increase the odds they aren’t by making sure your appeals aren’t creating a glidepath to post-giving regret.
This is best done by framing things as gains, not losses. It’s true people tend to place more value on not losing something that gaining that same something. But, that observation about human behavior isn’t answering the question we care about, which is what’s better – framing the message and need positively (gain) or negative ly (loss) for life-time value?
I know I can jack up response rate with guilt and premiums and sky is falling messaging. But what about 2nd gift conversion and lifetime giving?
One thing to avoid is regret if you care about that 2nd gift.
Experiments make clear that loss framing – if you don’t give lives will be lost – creates a glidepath to regretting the donation decision. Giving to help save lives is the positive, gain framing is a better alternative and it greatly reduces the chance of feeling regretful.