Your brain prefers paper over digital

Everyone is doing everything online. Forget print. Forget direct mail.

Not so fast. Paper-based fundraising is going strong, and there’s some new research that might help us understand why, reported at the Neuromarketing Blog: Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper.

Here’s the finding:

… the latest set of experiments showed that physical media caused greater activation of the ventral striatum [part of the reward system of the brain] than digital media. While this doesn’t conclusively show that paper is more powerful than digital for stimulating intent to purchase, it is a finding worth exploring in more detail.

Paper is better at communicating emotion and connectedness. Two of the key ingredients of philanthropy.

So don’t walk away from direct mail and other paper fundraising. It’s not going away. It may never go away.


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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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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.

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