your donors want this

Give me 8 minutes and I’ll radically improve the income you receive from your donors. And they will be delighted.

It’ll be a good investment. Guaranteed or double your money back.


Start the timer.

*0:00 to 1:00* Take a minute. Think about what you are asking your donors to do. Are you asking them to pay for something? Are you asking them to give to your organization? Are you asking them to help you with your budget? What are you saying to them about your work?

*1:01 to 6:56* Watch this video. It runs 5:55, stay all the way to the end and watch the credits. The people who created this deserve the attention. No sweat, it’s worth the time.

*6:56 to 7:27* Think back to where we started. Are you asking people to do something vague and unconnected to their emotional lives (“Have compassion”)? Are you merely stating facts (“I’m blind”) without connecting an emotion and a consequence?

*7:28 to 8:00* Think about the sign after “young suit guy” changed the copy. See the difference? The new sign taps into the lives of the people passing by. Emotions are stirred. They have been drawn into the life of the blind man. It is unexpected. It sticks in their minds because they can imagine the consequences of the blindness.

Got it? Change your sign. You’ll be able to see the results.

What do you think? Know any non-profit examples of how we fail to communicate evocatively to our donors?

I’d love to hear what you think.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credits: thenandagain)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

7 thoughts on “your donors want this”

  1. @Al, I think it is confusion and fear about the economy. The “CNN Effect” is so strong. People hear of constant bad news–more layoffs and more closures–then they assume that things will be bad for them. And rather than anchoring in what is known and sure they scamper to what seems to “work”. Numbers seems safer, relationships seem fluffy. Me? I’d put my weight down on relationships every time! Thanks Al.

  2. Ok Steve – I almost didn’t give you this time. I started watching the video and immediately came to conclusion that it was the same old theme of a homeless man. But I was pleasantly surprised how a different view point could change the outcome. I think it’s a good reminder for all of us to take a fresh look at what we say to our donors and how we could communicate differently. But first we have to make enough time to look, listen and be willing to change.

    It reminds me of a recent situation with a church relationship – I always thought that I was communicating effectively to the donor base that our programs at CityTeam are FREE to those in need. It wasn’t until my church came down for a tour did they ask the question – “Who pays for all of this, Carol?” I answered “Our recovery program is FREE for the men in our shelter. Faithful donors and churches support CityTeam to make this all possible.” They had no idea that the meal, bed, shower, clothes, educational classes, or recovery class were all FREE to someone suffering from homelessness. I just took it for granted that they understood what their donations help fund for those less fortunate. Also I am finding that different generations understand things differently. Your message could be on a sign or in a monthly newsletter – it’s a message and we need to always be aware of the view point of the donor/reader. Have a Beautiful Day.

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