A slogan is not a fundraising campaign
I got this the other day in the mail from a local organization that I’m not a donor to. (I’ve hidden the identity, because it’s a local hard-working organization that really doesn’t deserve public ridicule.)
“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” Pretty clever. It might be a comfort to someone facing cancer, though I can’t help but think if I had cancer, I’d be saying I really don’t care about cancer in general; tell me about my cancer.
This is a case of sloganeering in lieu of fundraising. It’s a common error, caused by fundraisers mistakenly taking their cue from commercial brand advertising.
No matter how clever the slogan, it’s unlikely to work in fundraising. That’s because a slogan doesn’t involve donors in any way. It isn’t a call to action. (Theoretically, it could be, but it never is.)
A really good slogan might be resonant or memorable. It might make donors nod knowingly, or chuckle, or think I’ll have to show that to Phyllis. But it’s not a call to action, and that means not many people will take action. The best you can hope for is you have such a strong brand that people already have in mind to donate to you — so the fact that you fail to actually ask doesn’t matter; you’ll get responses nonetheless. Of course, a blank piece of paper would do just as well.
But a real fundraising piece that includes a call to action will do a lot better.
Next time someone shows you a clever slogan in lieu of a call to action, send ‘em back to the drawing board. Fundraising is about action, not slogans.