Fri, March 30 2007

Why people take action

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

This week at my Association of Fundraising Professionals session, I asked four fundraisers to tell me the story of the last time they gave money to a charity other than their own.  Here are the stories:

1.) A woman from Tucson received an appeal last year form a local nonprofit during a particularly hot-and-sticky stretch of weather.  It was a “cool campaign” to replace their organization’s broken airconditioner.  She felt the heat and gave.

2.) A woman whose friend’s father had lymphoma was climbing a tower in Seattle to raise money for a lymphoma-focused charity. The woman gave to the charity in honor of her friend.

3.) A man who had a loved one die of cancer heard Lance Armstrong talking about his own experience and how it inspired him to give back.  This man was so touched, he got himself a LiveStrong wristband.

4.) A woman received a handwritten fundraising letter from a choral group.  She used to sing with this group, and every year, every current member of the group writes their own fundraising letters as part of an annual appeal.  Moved by the handwritten letter in a volunteer’s own words, she gave money.

These are four stories, but they all tell the same story.  People take action and give for deeply personal reasons.  The more our messages resonate with our audience’s perspective, the greater power they contain.  No one has ever told me that they gave because of a beautifully crafted mission statement or an attractive brochure.  No one.

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