"Yes. In particular, the first milestone or two ..."


by Rob Bensinger Dec 16 2016 updated Dec 16 2016

Yes. In particular, the first milestone or two should probably be small (assuming there are no associated costs), so that donors are more encouraged to get involved early in the fundraiser. Larger and more ambitious goal can then be saved for later in the fundraiser, when larger and more serious donors get more involved (because they're more likely to want to wait and think about their decisions).

Does anyone have any ideas for how best to frame this? One reason MIRI's recent fundraiser didn't have a small 'Target 1' was that a smaller target really wouldn't have been 'good enough' and wouldn't have been an exciting accomplishment. There's a worry that there are costs associated with consistently having a 'toy' target 1: (a) it devalues the very concept of 'targets' if hitting the first target is generally not super meaningful or natural-kind-ish in its own right, but is primarily just a carrot organizations dangle; and (b) having a 'cheap' Target 1 (e.g., at the 150k level) might reduce the probability that you hit Target 2 (e.g., at the 600k level) by encouraging complacency. Whether or not donors succeed in hitting Target 1, the fact that a low target exists might be perceived as a signal that the organization's funding needs aren't very large, and are likely to be met.

Is there a good way to frame a 'Target 1' that helps with this? Maybe replace the numbering system with 'Basic Target', 'Stretch Target 1', 'Stretch Target 2', etc., and have a new name for something that's smaller than the 'Basic Target' and is meaningful in a different way?