Fundraising from Christians and non-Christians at the same time

Even if yours is not a religious organization, your donor file is filled with people of faith. Religious people dominate the ranks of donors. That’s just the way it is.

If you’re in a Western country, the large majority of those religious donors are Christians.

We know from experience that using Bible quotations generally has a positive impact on Christians, increasing their motivation to get involved. But what can you do if you’re a non-religious organization, have a lot of non-religious donors, and quoting Scripture would simply be inappropriate for you?

Here’s help from Sean Triner’s blog: Christian Language for non-Christians.

… look at some the Bible sayings (or interpretations of sayings) that have come into everyday use. Many Christians will relate to the sayings, but non-Christians are unlikely to recognise the saying as a quote from the Bible. Provided it is a good quote, in context, and helps the appeal it is therefore likely to have a net positive impact.

Here are some possibilities:

More here.

(And “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible.)


Comments

2 responses to “Fundraising from Christians and non-Christians at the same time”

  1. Gary Shearin Avatar
    Gary Shearin

    Sean is indeed on to something here, more so than you might imagine. I did some testing at The Children’s Society (UK charity with some links to the Church of England)…
    The warm supporter file had some pockets of supporters that had been recruited through church groups and religious (Christian) publications.
    So, I split the data fours ways in a warm cash direct mail appeal. I had a copy variant with standard appeal copy and one with numerous (but subtle) New Testament terms like ‘being a good Samaritan’ etc. The data was split between the Christian and the mainstream recruits on the database.
    The copy which was flavoured with the Judaic-Christian terms only provided a negligible uplift from the more religious part of the file. However, and more interestingly, the mainstream recruits saw a significant increase in response rate.
    In this test, it’s possible that church-goers might be more conscious of, or critical of, the use of religious terms. Alternately, they might be less responsive to them due to ‘over-exposure’.
    While the mainstream recruits, having grown up in a predominately Christian / Western Society, may have a latent ‘understanding’ of ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘being a good person’ that is framed in Judaic-Christian terms. A strong subliminal influence maybe…

  2. Gary Shearin Avatar
    Gary Shearin

    Sean is indeed on to something here, more so than you might imagine. I did some testing at The Children’s Society (UK charity with some links to the Church of England)…
    The warm supporter file had some pockets of supporters that had been recruited through church groups and religious (Christian) publications.
    So, I split the data fours ways in a warm cash direct mail appeal. I had a copy variant with standard appeal copy and one with numerous (but subtle) New Testament terms like ‘being a good Samaritan’ etc. The data was split between the Christian and the mainstream recruits on the database.
    The copy which was flavoured with the Judaic-Christian terms only provided a negligible uplift from the more religious part of the file. However, and more interestingly, the mainstream recruits saw a significant increase in response rate.
    In this test, it’s possible that church-goers might be more conscious of, or critical of, the use of religious terms. Alternately, they might be less responsive to them due to ‘over-exposure’.
    While the mainstream recruits, having grown up in a predominately Christian / Western Society, may have a latent ‘understanding’ of ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘being a good person’ that is framed in Judaic-Christian terms. A strong subliminal influence maybe…

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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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