This is a very modified version of a post I wrote for Spin Sucks this time last year.
On my drive home last night, I was listening to local radio for a change. During the interminably long commercial break, I realized something: All three ads gave me reason to panic if I don’t buy their product.
“Do it before the nasty weather arrives.” “If you don’t, your roof will cave in.” “The price will triple after next week.”
I know the emotional connection is an important piece to your branding, but they are appealing to my wrong emotions. Threatening me does not motivate me to buy.
With the holidays upon us, giving increases towards the end of year. (Forty six percent of charities get most of their donations in the last quarter.) This is due not only to the fact we are thinking of those in need, but also because many want to take advantage of tax deductions before the year closes out. And then there are our friends and family in the Northeast who are still in dire need.
Needless to say, nonprofits are competing for attention and a piece of that collective open wallet.
So how do they do it?
Many are using photos of starving children and tortured animals to get to our hearts. This might be effective for some, but I’d argue threats and scare tactics won’t work as well as appealing to hope and optimism.
Those photos break my heart; I’m in no way trying to be insensitive here. But the pressure to save the world is too much for many who are simply trying to save themselves right now.
Everyone could use a little levity and some nonprofits are getting the message;
- Have fun with your content.
- Ask for a smaller donation amount.
#Movember has become a model for successful fundraising. Instead of scaring us with the fact that our husbands have an x in xx chance of dying of prostate cancer, they’ve involved men (men who wouldn’t normally step up to be advocates) to grow mustaches and raise money socially. And now the Mo Sistas have joined in.
In 2011, over 854,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world got on board, raising $126.3 million USD. Now? We’re having fun and raising awareness about a very serious issue.
Their goal isn’t even focused on dollar amounts, but participation. Organizers guess one-third of the participants won’t raise any money at all, and they don’t care. Because the other two-thirds will.
Crowdrise is fundraising platform. Perhaps you’ve heard of it; it’s relatively new to me. Crowdrise has adopted the same strategy, levity in fundraising.
In fact, their slogan is: If you don’t give back no one will like you.
I have no intention of detracting from the serious issues that are happening every single day. It’s tragic, and it’s overwhelming. Everyone is working hard to make ends meet and we can only handle so much. I can’t even open the PETA emails, it breaks my heart.
It’s OK to lighten up.