2 stupid nonprofit videos that fail to connect in their own different ways

Stupid ads

There are many flavors of stupidity among stupid nonprofit ads. Some are good at heart but get lost in stupidity at execution. Others are stupid all the way through.

Here are one of each: stupid nonprofit ads that are radically different in the nature of their stupidity, but stupid nonetheless.

First, we’ll examine this video from WATERisLIFE.com:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

This is actually a pretty good video: Trenchant, interesting, and well-done. And it’s been getting some viral action. I like it.

The problem with it is the same as with almost all Stupid Nonprofit Ads: There’s no call to action. It’s designed to make you Think About Stuff.

Fundraising that works is always about concrete and specific action.

Here’s another video, this one from the British Red Cross

Or watch it here on YouTube.

This one is more typical of the goofy and self-indulgent Stupid Nonprofit Ad genre. It combines high production values with confusion of purpose to create a message that will thrill insiders, possibly win awards, and have little or no impact on the organization’s donor or mission.

It has the common premise that being literal is not persuasive, so it conjures up a metaphor: a creepy young woman and her scary dog stand for all the different disasters that might cause people to need help from the Red Cross. Why someone thought this was more clear, immediate, and emotional than actual disasters is a puzzle to me.

The problem with using metaphor is that it must be 100% apt, more clear, and more emotional than the thing it stands for. This is none of those.

More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.


Comments

8 responses to “2 stupid nonprofit videos that fail to connect in their own different ways”

  1. Valerie Vandermeer Avatar
    Valerie Vandermeer

    Must you call them stupid to make the point? Most people in the non profit sector have given up higher paying jobs to work for the betterment of mankind. I’m all for shaking up the entrenched methodology to improve our chances at success, especially when it comes to improving the world. And I understand that some folks in this sector can be a bit slow to change. But, surely you can find ways to grab attention and promote your ideas without resorting to name calling. If you’re about “creating relationships and building trust”, I respectfully suggest that there are better ways to achieve this.

  2. Valerie Vandermeer Avatar
    Valerie Vandermeer

    Must you call them stupid to make the point? Most people in the non profit sector have given up higher paying jobs to work for the betterment of mankind. I’m all for shaking up the entrenched methodology to improve our chances at success, especially when it comes to improving the world. And I understand that some folks in this sector can be a bit slow to change. But, surely you can find ways to grab attention and promote your ideas without resorting to name calling. If you’re about “creating relationships and building trust”, I respectfully suggest that there are better ways to achieve this.

  3. Robert H Avatar

    Most of the time I think you make great obeservations but here you are way off target. The Red cross film isn’t fundraising its brand building. You don’t always have to do direct fundraising, it can be indirect and you can make calculations on how much extra funds you raise by making good brandbuilding commercials.
    The other Water is life video obviously works very well since it went viral. That kind of buzz about your organization is going to turn into real funds soon enough. And they even have a call to action at the end.
    Everything isn’t mailings so stop seeing the fundraising world through a “what works for mailings” filter.

  4. Robert H Avatar

    Most of the time I think you make great obeservations but here you are way off target. The Red cross film isn’t fundraising its brand building. You don’t always have to do direct fundraising, it can be indirect and you can make calculations on how much extra funds you raise by making good brandbuilding commercials.
    The other Water is life video obviously works very well since it went viral. That kind of buzz about your organization is going to turn into real funds soon enough. And they even have a call to action at the end.
    Everything isn’t mailings so stop seeing the fundraising world through a “what works for mailings” filter.

  5. How is “Donate Now” not a clear call to action? I really want to know before we make a video so please clarify. Thanks.

  6. How is “Donate Now” not a clear call to action? I really want to know before we make a video so please clarify. Thanks.

  7. Jeremy: “Donate now” is not a call to action unless you’ve make it clear what and why the donation is for. It’s like saying BUY without showing a product.

  8. Jeremy: “Donate now” is not a call to action unless you’ve make it clear what and why the donation is for. It’s like saying BUY without showing a product.

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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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