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One Thing Starbucks Can Teach the Non Profit World

Did you notice one of the changes at Starbucks recently?  It’s really kind of subtle.  Free wi-fi.  In the past, you’d go to Starbucks and you either had to have an AT&T account, or you had to have a Starbucks card to use their wireless. 

Frankly, it was a bit of a pain.  Essentially, one way or another, you had to pay for their service.  It wasn’t easy.

Other restaurants and coffee shops took advantage.  They advertised boldly:  Free Wi-Fi.   It was easy to go their stores and flick on a switch and get connected.  Sometimes, I’d find myself in the afternoon between appointments but needing to plop down for a few minutes.  I’d pick a Panera or some other store that advertised free wi-fi.  And by the way, while I was there, I would buy a drink or a snack.

So Starbucks wised up, and gave in and made their wi-fi free as well.  Their home page now says get connected, and stay awhile.  (You’ll probably buy a cup of coffee while you are there too!)

What’s the principle?  If you want to sell coffee, give your customers a reason to come in besides the coffee, and make it free.  If you are running a ministry, and want people to use your service, find a way to attract them that’s at their core, and make it free.

Analyze your customers.  Ask yourself, “what do they want; what do they need?”  Find a way to cater to that need that is attractive, and pretty soon , you’ll find yourself “selling more coffee…”

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: » Learn More

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