Sexy models demonstrate fundcrushing

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At more than 3 million views, you might call this video from Save the Children extremely successful.

You also might call it a Stupid Nonprofit Ad. After all, it has many of the characteristics of a SNA: High production values, mind-puzzle message, no call to action…

But I’m going to call it an example of fundcrushing — the evil twin of fundraising that works from the false assumption that people become charitable when you impress them with how big the problem is.

Here’s the video:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

The joke here involves confusing two meanings of the word “sexy”:


  1. Compelling, interesting, attention-grabbing.
  2. Actually having something to do with sex. (If you’re to believe most of the models in the video, being “sexy” involves caressing one’s own neck.)

It’s almost funny. Though it’s a lot more cringe-y than funny.

But it really falls apart with the statements they choose to try to make “sexy.” Things like:

Almost 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die each day, mostly from preventable causes.

That’s not sexy at all. In either sense of the word. Even if you somehow capture someone’s interest with a statement like that, you’re still miles away from what it takes to move people to give.

Because it’s fundcrushing. It’s anti-fundraising. It says, The problems are staggeringly huge. Your compassion is less than an ant in comparison. Don’t bother to give, because you can’t make a difference. Just feel bad.

The would-be donor is just as bamboozled as the models trying to make these things seem “sexy.”

So what’s the message of this video? That it’s not possible to make people care about poverty and suffering in the world? Why would a nonprofit involved in fighting those things say that? That’s like a food producer telling us it’s impossible to make tasty and nutritious food.

Especially when there’s already a very effective way to make those things “sexy” (in the “compelling” sense): Telling stories of individual people who are suffering and offering clear, possible, within-reach actions that allow the donor to make a difference.

Yeah, it’s hard getting our message out. But creating videos about how hard our work is — that’s just a silly thing to do.

Don’t give in to the temptation to be a fundcrusher. Be a fundraiser instead.

Thanks to Osocio for the tip.

More examples of fundcrushing.


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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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