Non-profit surpasses goals with incentive program

  • Jan 20, 2009

As we've discussed, a good program begins with setting a clear objective. The non-profit organization Meeting Professionals International knew they wanted to increase their membership. They set a specific goal to successfully solicit and enroll 4,800 new members worldwide in the fiscal year.

Strategy & Execution: This recruiting promotion for Meeting Professionals International was based on a series of incentive levels that awarded prizes to those who signed up specified numbers of new members. The construction theme was called a “Building Bonanza” and awarded construction-type prizes at the different levels. One or two new members earned the recruiter an eight-attachment screwdriver. Three to five new members earned the recruiter a builder’s coffee mug. The five different levels built the incentive awards up to an “Architect” level for those who recruited 16 or more new members. These recruiters received a 13-inch crystal hammer on a black marble base and an entry into a drawing for one of three international Ritz-Carlton Hotel destinations. The combination of a tangible, desirable prize with the chance of winning a great vacation made for a winning campaign.

Building Bonanza awards

Promotional products, also known as advertising specialties or physical advertising, have long been recognized to be among the most effective tools when used as part of a well-planned campaign. This was proven again in a recent study showing them to have the lowest cost per impression of any media, beating TV, radio, and print. In case you missed our report on that study, you can check it out here. But the key here, ever so much more important in today's economy, is that they MUST be part of a well-planned promotion. There's a big difference between a promotion and a giveaway. Sadly, way too many imprinted items are used simply as giveaways. Sure, they'll still be appreciated and will reinforce brand identity, but much of the potential value could be lost. It's not about the product. We have over 850,000 promotional products on our web site, but SO WHAT? How they fit into the right marketing promotion is what matters. It's important to decide first on your marketing objective, then call an expert to put together the program and the tools to reach it. And yes, we would like to be the expert you call. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Results: This highly effective campaign yielded the most members recruited in one year in the association’s 27-year history: 6,012 new members. The program brought in nearly $1,900,000 in new member fees, exceeding the budgeted revenue by $381,780. The incentives only cost a fraction of that.