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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 National Christian Foundation Heartland. 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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