“Marketing Without Money”

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

I just finished reading Tom Patty’s great book “Marketing Without Money- Big Ideas for Small Business: How to Substitute Ideas for Money. Even though it is written for for-profit businesses, it has many ideas and concepts that are applicable to nonprofit fundraising.

In his book, Tom talks about the “Purchase Funnel” which identifies the stages or phases that a consumer goes though in the purchase process.


  1. Awareness that the option exists
  2. Consideration based on interest in information provided
  3. Shopping by looking at alternatives
  4. Intention of which option to buy
  5. Actually make the purchase
  6. Loving the result, telling others and becoming a repeat customer

I became aware of one option to donate at dinner buffet at a private home. The nonprofit’s presentation got me interested and I made a substantial commitment on their donor signup board. They sent me their IRS receipt. 

Six months later, I read an article about a nonprofit in the Daily Pilot that really touched me. I went to their website and made the same substantial gift. They E-mailed me their IRS receipt.

Last month I got an E-newsletter from a nonprofit that was doing some interesting work that I was not aware that they did. I went to their website and made same substantial commitment. The next day, the Development manager’s assistant called to thank me personally, apologizing because her manager was out of town. A few days later, I got an Email for the Executive Director thanking me for my donation. The next week, I got a thank you letter from Development manager. The following week I made arrangements with their account to deliver the funds, and got a follow-up thank you letter from her (with an IRS receipt attached).

Guess which result I loved, which one I will say good things about to others, and which one will get repeat donations from me?

 Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org