Your sweeping, gigantic, inspiring call to action doesn’t move donors to action

Here are two online ads that were recently fed to me. The first one is from Trickle Up:

Bigoffer

This one is from Doctors Without Borders

Smalloffer

The Trickle Up call to action is bigger. It’s asking us to be part of a major transformation of the entire world — one that is actually possible. The Doctors Without Borders call to action is a micro-action: helping one refugee. Just one.

So which one is more likely to get clicks and donations?

Hands-down: The micro-action of Doctors Without Borders.

It is often argued that donors “should” support big.jpgcture action rather than micro-action. Maybe they should. But they don’t.

It’s the human brain. We respond to things we can see (or imagine we can see). Not to large-scale or abstract things. When you base your fundraising on what donors “should” respond to, you fail to reach most donors.

Here’s how your fundraising should make donors feel.


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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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