- Fri, August 03 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Is your marketing strategy to simply ask for help?
Today, I got an email from a marketing publication saying “we need your help” in the subject line. In fact, as explained in the body of the email, they need 12 minutes of my help to fill out a survey. I also got a fundraising appeal from my alma mater that says it needs my help in their new fiscal year. I also got an “urgent” letter from an advocacy organization that needs my help with a donation.
This “help me” triple-header makes me cranky.
Guess what? Everyone needs help. It is not so compelling to ask for help - from a marketing perspective, it is unimaginative, somewhat lazy, and quite ineffective. (Told you I was cranky!)
It’s not enough to say “help, help, help, we have problems, problems, problems.” Everyone needs help, everyone has problems, and everyone wants your money.
You need to show why your audience should care to help. You need to inspire them to want to help right now. You need to show why you’re the best possible helper for the problem at hand. And you have to show your audience how their actions will make a difference, not just be a drop in the bucket of a major social problem.
The publisher could have made their survey 2 minutes long and I would have done it if they explained why this was a good investment of my time. One step in the right direction would have been to put their sweeptakes offer, buried in the email, into the lead. My alma mater needs to do a heck of a better job explaining why I should help than simply saying their new fiscal year just started. And that advocacy organization needs to explain why I should care about their latest legal obstacle and how my donation will remove it. The headline should not tell me to help, it should show me why I should care.