Is there any “seductive” fundraising out there?

Most marketers will not be surprised by the research reported at Neuromarketing: Don’t Sell, Seduce! It found that ads using logic to sell affected the brain differently from those that used “non-rational influence” — you know, those ads that just have some kind of beautiful photo and the name of the product. They’re usually for fragrances and other products with uncertain benefits.

The non-rational ads stimulated lower parts of the brain — those areas that make the real decisions.

I’ve never seen a truly non-rational fundraising message. (Though I’ve seen plenty of irrational ones.) I don’t know if it would work. But I’d love to see it tried, as Neuromarketing suggests:

Need to shake up your advertising and boost sales? Run a test of ads that skip the facts and logical persuasion, and instead show imagery of a place and state of mind where your target customer would like to be. Bypass the rational analysis, and appeal directly to your customer’s emotions.

I dare an enterprising nonprofit to try this!

What is the place and state of mind where your donor wants to be? What is a picture of that like?

I’m going to be thinking about this a lot in the next few months.


Comments

4 responses to “Is there any “seductive” fundraising out there?”

  1. Excellent post. I do think some nonprofits already do this successfully. Animal nonprofits, for example, are notoriously effective at using lots of photos of cute, cuddly dogs and cats. Isn’t there a t.v. ad with Sarah McLaughlin singing “In the arms of an angel” as people envision those poor animals being put to sleep if no one adopts them?
    I couldn’t agree more that the key to effective marketing is targeting what your customer wants to believe in. People want to believe, to matter and to make a difference.

  2. Excellent post. I do think some nonprofits already do this successfully. Animal nonprofits, for example, are notoriously effective at using lots of photos of cute, cuddly dogs and cats. Isn’t there a t.v. ad with Sarah McLaughlin singing “In the arms of an angel” as people envision those poor animals being put to sleep if no one adopts them?
    I couldn’t agree more that the key to effective marketing is targeting what your customer wants to believe in. People want to believe, to matter and to make a difference.

  3. On a related note to Claire’s comment, PETA has generated a lot of attention for its “Naked Campaign.”

  4. On a related note to Claire’s comment, PETA has generated a lot of attention for its “Naked Campaign.”

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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.