How many nonprofit choddies have you seen?

You’ve seen ads like this parody. The genre is called “choddy,” and it’s a big favorite of nonprofits:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll never criticize a marketing message just because it’s derivative, or clichéd, or boring. All we should really care about is whether it’s effective. If a choddy is doing the job, then thumb your nose at the ridicule and go for it.

But I have a feeling they don’t work, at least most of the time. Because they’re usually self-centered, unemotional, abstract, and confusing. Not great qualities for motivating response.

Like this grim example for UNICEF USA, which is so unfriendly, navel-gazing, and self-righteous that it makes 3-1/2 minutes seem like a long morning at the dentist:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

So think twice before committing a choddy. If you want to motivate action, you’re going to have to be clear, literal, and specific.

Thanks to Who really gives a toss? for the tip.


Comments

4 responses to “How many nonprofit choddies have you seen?”

  1. Great observation. Unfortunately I think we are all swept up in the media movement at the moment (say that three times fast, lol!) You Tube! Facebook! Twitter! Eight million “likes’!! And we have forgotten what fundraising really is about….a personal relationship that moves people to offer their patronage- money, time, talents.
    While these, and other media motivated efforts, feel good, look sexy and are something to toss on the bragboard, its a little like tossing rice against a wall to see what sticks. I recently wrote a post on a similar media based phenom- online fundraising portals like Causes- at my blog at http://www.thefbooksite.com
    Hopefully few nonprofits will suffer before peeling themselves from the pack to get grounded once more on things that will really help their cause.

  2. Great observation. Unfortunately I think we are all swept up in the media movement at the moment (say that three times fast, lol!) You Tube! Facebook! Twitter! Eight million “likes’!! And we have forgotten what fundraising really is about….a personal relationship that moves people to offer their patronage- money, time, talents.
    While these, and other media motivated efforts, feel good, look sexy and are something to toss on the bragboard, its a little like tossing rice against a wall to see what sticks. I recently wrote a post on a similar media based phenom- online fundraising portals like Causes- at my blog at http://www.thefbooksite.com
    Hopefully few nonprofits will suffer before peeling themselves from the pack to get grounded once more on things that will really help their cause.

  3. The first video made me laugh! I never knew what a Choddy was!
    Thank you for talking about this formulaic video strategy. We must do something to help these nonprofits avoid sudden donor channel change!
    One of the videos that Dan Pallotta made for the cause of Breast Cancer actually made me cry a little.
    I think we should look at that, and see what that teaches us. http://www.pallottateamworks.com/Video/index.php
    The “Dear Mom” video is the one I’m talking about.
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  4. The first video made me laugh! I never knew what a Choddy was!
    Thank you for talking about this formulaic video strategy. We must do something to help these nonprofits avoid sudden donor channel change!
    One of the videos that Dan Pallotta made for the cause of Breast Cancer actually made me cry a little.
    I think we should look at that, and see what that teaches us. http://www.pallottateamworks.com/Video/index.php
    The “Dear Mom” video is the one I’m talking about.
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

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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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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.