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Marketing Your Card

20 Ideas to Maximize Donations

We are collecting best practices in the promotion of Give the Change cards.

The “Do Nothing” Option – No Effort

There is a very easy option which is to “do nothing”.  As Give the Change progresses, potential donors will be looking for causes that align with their values and so simply by registering your non-profit you have the opportunity to benefit from the momentum generated by other media, merchants, PR and non-profits.  By opening up to receive donations from Give the Change card holders you are helping to build the micro-donation movement, so we thank you for that.

The “Do A Little More” Options

Assuming you want to do more than the minimum and to maximize adoption, frequency of usage and stickiness, here are some ideas to consider.  Not every tactic will make sense for every organization.

  1. Joint press release with Give the Change – Give the Change is a story about enabling grass roots contributions, and ending the monopoly on philanthropy that traditionally has been the purview of the better offer members of society.  We are very happy to make news together and raise awareness of your card.
  2. Choose your card art wisely – Consider that the goal is for the card to be top of wallet and for the card holder to show it to their friends and even the other folks at the point of sale.  Consider the following:
    • Use photo images that people will want to see regularly and show to others, humor, cuteness, cleverness and beauty are all worthwhile qualities to strive for.
    • Sometimes it’s about the mission and the idea, so if your logo is powerful or there is a tag line or mission statement that will galvanize support use it.  For Three Wise Men it was about showing that the card holder is “Supporting the Troops”.
    • If there is a title or some status to be conferred as a card holder, consider naming it e.g. “Constant Supporter”.  People like titles and surely giving every day to your cause is worthy of one.
    • The card is small so don’t try to pack too much into the space.
    • Don’t worry too much we will help you through the process and do as much as you would like in creating your work of art.
  3. Cross link from your site to the Give the Change site – Deep link to the enroll pane by using as the URL.  Make sure the link includes a copy of the card art and a compelling call to action and that it’s visible and well above the fold.  Minimize the number of clicks and scrolls required to get to the enroll page.
  4. Include benefits with the card – Consider Co-branding.  If you can enable discounts at retailers or admission privileges with the card, then add a reminder of that benefit to the card, either on the front or the back.  Consider enlisting the support of merchants that want to be associated with your cause; they may be willing to provide discounts or offers in exchange for some kind of co-branding.  Certain items are very low cost for some merchants and so they may be willing to discount or even give free items e.g. coffee or soda from the fountain.  Supermarkets and gas stations are hit with very high swipe fees, as much as 3% on some credit cards, that can amount to a $3 charge to a gas station.  Give the Change can reduce that cost considerably, either to a “regulated debit rate” of 21 cents, or even lower (15 cents), if the merchant works with our card processor to put a router in store.  Contact us if you need help in organizing such arrangements.
  5. Distribute cards via merchants – If you are able to work with a merchant to offer discounts, they may be willing to distribute cards on notice boards, near entrances, via greeters or at the point of sale.  If you are relying on their staff to do the distribution, consider training, incentives, measurement and competition/prizes for individuals or teams that are successful.  Educate them on your cause so they can tell the story, not just of the card, but of where the money is going.
  6. Distribute the cards at events – Since the cards are relatively low cost (from $0 to 47.2 cents) you can afford to include the cards as part of the admission process either as part of a bundle of merchandise, handed to each attendees as they arrive or via a special booth.  We may be able to help with art work or even staffing and a booth if you are near our HQ in San Diego.
  7. Promoting on the air –  If you are in a position to get access to TV coverage, make sure the production team have B Roll footage of the card being used and registered and the URL to our site (remember the less clicks the better).  If you are telling people about our site you can use the shorter version of our URL which is . Don’t forget to include the word “card” in .  You can always simply advise people to Google “Give The Change”
  8. Offer cards to influencers who are well connected – either friends with awesome Linkedin or Facebook friend lists, bloggers, interested members of the press, celebrity supporters or leaders in organizations.  Where they lead others will follow.
  9. Viral can be good – Encourage supporters to identify their use of Give the Change using social media.
  10. Lead from the top and the inside of your organization – Use the card yourself and encourage staff members to use it too.  From the leadership team to staff members at the entry level, you are regarded as special and what you do will be observed by others.  If you are not willing to use the card, even if it’s just occasionally, then it will be hard to change the habits of others.
  11. Include the cards in mailers –  You may want to target all your supporters or a specific sub-segment.  This segment could be your most loyal supporters that would love to become card carrying evangelists, or it could be a segment of supporters on lower incomes where giving change selectively is a way to give painlessly a few cents at a time.
  12. Multiple cards per family –  Encourage spouses to use the card too.  Most adults drive and shop, so double the frequency of usage, and encourage multiple cards per household.  Maybe this becomes the gas card that young adults can use.  The limits on where the card can be used and how much can be spent can be a challenge, but they can be an asset in controlling the spending by dependents.  It may be worth having card holders register their cards separately in order to combine the spending limits on the accounts.  If you have two adults with two accounts, the spending limit of $150 a day is effectively doubled, driving more transactions.
  13. Target everyday spending on small ticket items –  If someone is going to buy a TV, Give the Change is not a good fit.  The spending limits are too low, the purchaser will probably want the extra consumer benefits they get from a premium credit card.  Your organization makes as much money when someone buys a candy bar for $1.05 as they do shopping for groceries and spending $99.05.  Encourage people to use their card for regular purchases like gas or trips to McDonald’s.
  14. Tell both stories – Promote your cause and the card.  Yes, tell the story about how giving a little every day makes people happy and connected, but don’t forget to remind people what you are doing with their funds.  This applies on posters and tri-folds that go with the card and any communication that you engage in once they have the card.
  15. People love to compete – Competitions can be a low cost way of engaging and incentivizing use of the card, especially when you are signing folks up.  Rather than giving a low quality thank you to everyone that signs up, consider offering a more exciting prize to the winner of a contest that is linked to either enrolling or using the card.  As non-profits you get to see how often people use your card, so maybe their chances of winning should increase over the time they use their card in a given period.  We can help in providing more information about who your new enrollees are.
  16. Thank people and engage with your card users – You have the data to let folks know if they are in the the top 50%, or top 1% of card users, maybe they should get extra status or incentives for achieving a certain level of usage.  In the future we will offer a method to reflect the value of rewards in statements that we offer on the donor’s account page, so unless you are planning to issue receipts directly, stick to rewards with no monetary value, such as invitations to events, early access and badges and information about donors’ relative achievements.
  17. Add Give the Change branding to your merchandise – if you feature the cards on pins and bumper stickers then donors can identify themselves as regular supporters.
  18. Create personalized cards – GtC can provide referrals to organizations that (for a fee ~$5k) can enable your cards to be personalized from a gallery of pre-selected images that are particularly relevant to the donor, or by uploading their own images of a loved one, holiday scene or pet.  While the cost is greater, traditionally these cards can be sold at a premium so that the card can generate revenue before it’s even used.  The statistics on frequency of use and stickiness make this a compelling option for non-profits with a large enough base to justify the investment.  Card issuers have seen a 54% increase in activations and 68% increase in usage.  Fifty additional active card holders could cover the cost.
  19. Social Media – Don’t forget to Tweet, YouTube and Facebook what you are doing with @givethechange and
  20. A picture tells a thousand words – especially a moving picture – In all of your communications try to feature images and video wherever you can.  Video is gaining an increasingly important role on the web, especially with mobile devices and the fact that people don’t like to read (although it seems like you do, so thank you for reading all this).

We’re only just starting to collect these ideas.  Please add your own thoughts here and we will consolidate and share.  Want to write more extensively on a guest blog?  Please let us know.