Donor centric but stupid? It’s possible

Stupid ads

Sometimes a stupid nonprofit ad campaign has an odd little grain of smart in it. Like this print ad campaign, done for Crossroads Community Services, a social services organization in New York.

The idea: research shows that charitable giving is good for givers in a number of ways.

That’s absolutely true. It’s one of the great and under-appreciated truths of our work.

In this case, though, it plays out in a way that guarantees the truth will connect with very few people:

Psfk-crossroads-campaign-2

Since it’s unreadable in this small size (it’s nearly unreadable in full size; if you think people ought to read your copy, don’t reserve it out), here’s what the small copy says:

Research shows that simple acts of kindness can improve your overall mental and physical health.

True enough. Charitable giving and other acts of kindness do all kinds of good things for donors.

But that’s not why donors give. Donors give out of compassion, kindness, and a desire to make the world a better place, along with a host of other motivations. Those things are themselves the rewards, as far as donors are concerned. The campaign is on thin ice, because it fails to speak to the reasons donors give. It relies on a secondary. Secondary benefits are great — when you use them in a secondary way.

Three other problems:


  1. The photography obscures the message. The beauty shots of the homeless people make it unclear who’s in the photo. The man in the ad above could just as easily be a doctor who’s able to help you improve your health through medical care as a homeless person who needs your help.
  2. Fundraising without a clear and specific call to action seldom works.
  3. Print ads are rarely effective at raising funds (especially in expensive media markets like NYC). There are exceptions where they break through and really work. But cleverness not one of those exceptions.

What we have here is another triumph of style over substance, clever over effective, concept over clarity.

Which amounts to stupid over smart.

Thanks to Osocio for the tip.

More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.


Comments

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