Suddenly the mailbox is full of photos of babies

I love the studies researchers in psychology do. Where do they get their ideas? Here’s an interesting one, reported at the Neuromarketing blog: Baby Pics Boost Altruism.

Cutebaby
Researchers “lost” hundreds of wallets on the streets of Edinburgh. In each wallet there was a photo: a smiling baby, a cute puppy, a happy family, or a contented elderly couple. Some had no photo.

About half of the wallets were returned to their “owners.” The amazing thing was the huge disparity in return rates for the different photos”


  • 88% of the wallets with the baby photo were returned.
  • 53% with the puppy photo were returned.
  • 48% with the family photo came back.
  • 28% with the elderly couple.
  • 14% with no picture were sent back.

Okay, it’s not fundraising. But it sure is tempting to draw a connection with direct mail and other fundraising media. If a photo of a baby stirred people who found wallets to higher levels of altruism, would it encourage more people to give?

There are a lot of layers of complexity between some photo of a baby and actual response, but think about it: Can you legitimately work a photo of a baby into your fundraising? It might help.

Test it.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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