Here’s one of those blog posts, from Queer Ideas, where the title is almost all you need to know: Write a soap opera, not a news story.
There’s more to the post than that, and I hope you’ll read it.
But really, that headline describes what’s wrong with most ineffective fundraising: It’s written as news. Dispassionate, factual news. Its creators think fundraising is a matter of pouring the right information into people’s heads. Once the info-quota is reached, they’ll give.
That’s not how you raise funds. Not even close.
People give when their heart is touched. When they realize the story they’re telling about themselves connects with the story you’re telling about your cause.
It’s that messy, emotional intertwining of hearts and minds. Not a neat aligning of facts and figures.
The only reason fundraising-as-news works at all is that donors sometimes turn it into a soap opera in their heads.
For example, that terrible genre of cancer fundraising that goes something like this: Last year, 4,511 people in King County were diagnosed with cancer…
The donor’s head is saying (if she paid any attention at all) Cancer is too big. I can’t do a thing about it. But her heart starts to kindle: She remembers her own brushes with cancer: Those long nights on chemo. The promise she whispered while a loved one finally slipped away. That empty place in life, like a missing tooth, where her loved one used to be. She tells herself these stories and realizes she can, she must do something to defy the disease, because there’s hope in that defiance.
A better fundraiser would skip that first step and move with the donor straight to the second one. With a soap opera filled with people. Not news filled with facts.
That’s about all you need to know about this boring and self-indulgent video for Fundação São Francisco de Assis, a Portuguese animal-aid charity.
I don’t really recommend watching it. The music is mind-numbingly annoying and the images don’t really make sense. I think it’s some form of medieval pantomime approach to dog rescue. And it’s nearly five minutes — a very long five minutes that will have you thinking about your own mortality and the preciousness of every moment that shouldn’t be spent on weird, self-indulgent dreck like this.
Sorry about that. Here it is:
Or watch it here in Vimeo.
The main clue that this is award bait and not a serious attempt to connect with donors is that it’s in English. Why would a Portuguese charity use English? Well, awards committees are overwhelmingly English-speaking.
When you don’t really care about getting real donors to take real action, you can do stuff like this.
If your cause is in need of funds, though, let the award-hungry agencies figure out some other way to create the stuff they and their friends on the panels like.
Thanks to Osocio for the tip.
More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.
Here’s my Fundraising Ninja column in this month’s FundRaising Success magazine, Do You Need a Post-recession Turnaround?.
Teaser: “Being on top of your data won’t win you any awards. It won’t even make you interesting at parties. But it can help transform your fundraising and bring about the turnaround you need.”
The internet is the best place to look for just about anything you might need. Considering you can buy anything from environment friendly pencils to health insurance from the internet, the previous statement actually makes a lot of sense. And the fact that a lot of people nowadays choose to buy products online. As such, the internet is the best place for you to place an order for custom promotional bags if your business has a need for it. This is because you can find everything you need on the internet in less than an hour and pay for it and just wait for the item (or in this case, items) to be delivered to you. It is also quite easy to find affordable prices or deals on these kinds of products on the internet especially if you will order in bulk and you will place orders in advance. This works for businesses that would want to find affordable ways to promote their products and services.
But there are also a number of things you need to keep in mind when buying these bags over the internet. To start with, you need to be sure about the type and the number of custom made reusable grocery bags you will place an order for. This will help you save quite a lot of time and effort when browsing around various options. So be sure you know what it is you want to buy before you begin to shop around for it. Next, you need to be certain you can trust the online suppliers you are buying from. Take the time to learn as much as you can about the online suppliers you plan to buy these reusable bags from before you buy anything from them.
If you are wondering why, this is to help you ensure you aren’t about to buy substandard promotional bags. If there is a downside to buying stuff from online suppliers, it is the fact you can’t personally inspect the products before you pay for it. The only way you can be sure the bags you buy from websites such as www.customgrocerybags.com are of high quality is to make sure the online suppliers are reputable. This can be done by reading product reviews and testimonials written and posted online by the online suppliers’ previous customers. These reviews will give you firsthand info about the products and the quality of the services you can expect from the online sellers. This is the best way for you to be sure you will end up buying promotional items that serves your purpose of promoting products and services without costing you a lot of money.
The Good Steward blog says there’s One Trick to Fundraising:
Know your donors.
And that’s true. When you know your donors, you can be relevant to them. You can aim your messaging at them, not yourself. You can spend less cultivating donors not likely to respond, and more on those who can make it worth it.
Knowing what your donors say is good.
But it’s much, much better to know what they do.
In fact, compared to what you learn from observing their behavior — when and how they respond to your fundraising and other messages — what they say about those things can lead you badly astray. What they say is very often totally unlike what they do. Because they don’t know their own minds on the subject of charitable giving.
(There’s nothing wrong with them; nobody knows their own mind very well on almost any subject. That includes you and me.)
So go ahead and use surveys, focus groups, and other ways of hearing donors talk. But much more important — be a fanatical sifter of fundraising campaign response data. That’s how you really know your donors.