What Aristotle told us about fundraising

I love this post from Copyblogger: Aristotle’s Ancient Guide to Compelling Copy.

Aristotle

Aristotle’s views on rhetoric profoundly influenced communicators until not so longer ago. They can shape the work of alert fundraisers today if you want them to. Here are three elements of persuasion, according to Aristotle:

Ethos

Readers need to see that you have good character, that you can be trusted. Do that by telling true stories and being completely clear about what you want donors to do.

Logos

That’s Greek for “word,” “reason,” or “logic.” Back up what you say with proof. Avoid hyperbole. Be specific.

Pathos

That’s emotion. The whole reason they’ll give is if you’ve moved their hearts. This doesn’t mean empty, manipulated emotion (that would violate one or both of the other two principles), but deep, heartfelt emotion.


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2 responses to “What Aristotle told us about fundraising”

  1. Great post, I am printing it out to tack on my wall, thanks Jeff!

  2. Great post, I am printing it out to tack on my wall, thanks Jeff!

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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.

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