Humor is a risky fundraising tactic

Warning: This video will make you cringe.

A clueless Australian newscaster tries to tell the Dalai Lama a Dalai Lama joke. It doesn’t connect. It misses by a mile. The Lama only laughs when he realizes it’s a failed attempt at a joke.

(Or watch it here on YouTube.)

Something like this could happen to you if you attempt humor in fundraising. Humor doesn’t travel well across cultural and generational lines. What you think is funny may be just confusing words to your donors. That blank look of incomprehension we see on the Dalai Lama’s face is likely what happens when you try to be funny with donors.

Humor is difficult to pull off in the best of conditions. (That “Make me one with everything” joke isn’t all that funny, even if you understand it.) When you try to send a joke across cultural or generational lines — it’s probably not going to land.

Even if it does, the humorous mood is a long way away from the compassionate mood that’s most conducive to giving.

Humor is fun, and it feels good to give and receive. But it’s risky in fundraising. Any time you get the urge to use it, please watch this video first.


Comments

2 responses to “Humor is a risky fundraising tactic”

  1. Oh my God, that was painful to watch.

  2. Oh my God, that was painful to watch.

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog