your donors are bored

Donors are bored . . . OK, that’s not completely accurate. Really donors are busy, distracted and bored. You know that. But in the middle of the battle to create marketing, fundraising or development messages, it’s easy to lose track of this reality.

If your message isn’t earth-shaking, world-changing and life-altering, you’ll be ignored.

I’m writing this from one of my favorite coffee shops, Pegasus Coffee, which not only has great coffee but the owners have created a terrific nearly European vibe. They serve great food and pastries plus are the hub of much of the great conversations on here on the island. They posted today’s entrée as I was finishing up. You can see it in the shot of their wall-menu: “water buffalo Bolognese.” I’ve eaten a lot of sauces and more than my fair share of Bolognese, but water buffalo? That got my attention. Wish I could have stayed for lunch.

The Pegasus gang wants to create interest, buzz and break through all the other messages I’m immersed in. They do it in a variety of ways, one way that works is avoiding boring menu items.

It works the same way for you and your donors. You have to grab their attention and work hard to avoid boring them. You, also, have to make your message scannable and easy to take in (read, hear, watch).

Daunting? You betcha. It’s a tough challenge.

But if every time you start to create a communication you remind yourself:

Donors aren’t sitting around waiting to hear from you.

Donors will receive messages every day from worthy organizations just like yours (and some they love every bit as much as they love you).

Donors will only spend a few seconds deciding if they will answer your call, read your email or open your letter.

That’s the reality. You’ll only have a few seconds to win their attention. You can’t wimp out with namby-pamby safe language.

You have to win their attention, break through the boredom with bold passion and surprising facts that stop them in their tracks.

It’s a harsh reality, but it is reality. And you can overcome it!

So what do you think? How do you cut through the clutter and distraction? What connects with you in your life? I love hearing what you’re up to. (I’ll let you know how the water buffalo Bolognese is when I see it on the menu again).


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: Steve Thomas)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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