Back To Basics
September 17, 2013 Herschell Gordon Lewis
When skepticism seems to be a common element in a fundraising campaign to a list of purchased names, the top professional fundraisers are in their element. It’s what they expect, and it’s why proficient fundraisers know how to push the hot buttons … buttons that match the Internet era of informational oversupply. But when skepticism supplants enthusiasm, there should be concern. Multi-donors disappear. They aren’t dead; they’re just no longer interested. That means it’s Revival Time. The three revivers If you accept a tough reality -- all fundraising is competitive with all other fundraising -- you also accept basic techniques that propel your proposition to the fore, ahead of the medical and educational and civic and religious competitors who otherwise not only bleed away contributions you might attract but could become your total replacement. For starters, which of these appeals is most likely to generate a positive response from names on a “cold” list?
- Can you help us?
- Will you help us?
- Will you help these kids?
- Help me.
- Help me, PLEASE.
- The First Reviver: Ask a question.
- The Second Reviver: Specify a benefit.
- The Third Reviver: Suggest that the message-recipient is guilty.
- Ask a question: You’ll note that the previous paragraph asks questions. The key to professionalism is asking pertinent and involving questions. Whether or not the word “You” appears in the question, aim it squarely at the reader, viewer, or listener. You always are in a competitive arena. Repeat: You always are in a competitive arena.
- Specify a benefit: The benefit has to be to your target-individual, not to the sending organization. Toto, we aren’t in Kansas any more. People care about three things: Me. Myself. I. And that’s it. What will they get out of this? The professional’s job is to figure out something and challenge them with it. That leads directly to The Third Reviver…
- Suggest that the message recipient is guilty. Guilty of what? It’s your call. It might be indifference. It might be arrogance. It might be inhumanity. It might be ignorance. It might be acceptance of false beliefs or counter-information. But of all the Great Motivators (Fear, Exclusivity, Greed, Guilt, and Need for Approval), Guilt is the runaway winner … when aimed professionally by a nonprofit meistersinger.