Flattery works wonders in fundraising

Most people already knows this, but flattery works.

And it’s been proven once again in a study reported at the Neuromarketing blog: Flattery: A Free Way to Increase Recall. This time the finding is that praising people can improve their memory:

…when subjects were given a task to learn involving motor skills, praise for their performance afterwards resulted in their remembering the task better than control groups who received no praise.

Boosted memory is good. It means they’ll more likely remember your offer. Or remember who you are.

Praising donors isn’t just empty flattery. They are, in fact, extremely excellent people who are doing more than their share to make the world a better place. (They’re not only giving to you and to other causes, they probably also volunteer, give blood, and randomly do kind and helpful things for others. All at a much higher rate than other people.)

Its more evidence that the real job of fundraising is not to brag about ourselves in hopes that we’ll persuade donors to hitch their wagons to our stars. It’s to remind donors who they are and show them how our values align with theirs — and help them see that we are an effective vehicle for their passion and generosity.


Comments

2 responses to “Flattery works wonders in fundraising”

  1. Great point, Jeff. I’m reminded of a story told to me by a former V.P. of the company that owns Otis Elevators. When faced with complaints about the wait for elevators in a certain NYC skyscraper, the engineers came up with a unique solution: install full-length mirrors in the elevator lobbies. Result? Complaints dropped by 75%, even though there was no improvement in frequency or speed of the service. Donors are, above all, human beings, and we all share certain qualities, including a natural self-centered (not selfish, necessarily) preoccupation.

  2. Great point, Jeff. I’m reminded of a story told to me by a former V.P. of the company that owns Otis Elevators. When faced with complaints about the wait for elevators in a certain NYC skyscraper, the engineers came up with a unique solution: install full-length mirrors in the elevator lobbies. Result? Complaints dropped by 75%, even though there was no improvement in frequency or speed of the service. Donors are, above all, human beings, and we all share certain qualities, including a natural self-centered (not selfish, necessarily) preoccupation.

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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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