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Want to appeal to people’s sympathies? Try this unusual approach.

February 23, 2015

We’ve all seen the commercials appealing to our conscience to support a needy cause. Generally, these campaigns follow a certain line: there is hardship so give generously. The campaigns are flooded with images of sorrow, pain and plight.

 

Because of the success and proliferation of these campaigns, the impulse would be – and should be sometimes – to follow this line.

 

But, the evidence doesn’t always add up that this is what appeals to people – specifically to the very people fundraisers are trying to reach. What works for one charity won’t necessarily work for another.

 

Further investigation into who givers are – from where they live to their connection to the organisation – can reveal more about where people’s sympathies lie and it’s not always where we think.

 

If anything, some recent campaigns – from the ice bucket challenge to the selfie social media drives – show us that, rather than tears, the very opposite – fun – is motivating people. These unexpected and inventive campaigns of the past year have grabbed the imaginations of the public and the media and resulted in amazing returns for some very worthy causes.

 

Despite what feel like clear challenges to a charity, they may not be as obvious to the general public. They may find it hard to relate, but feelings of joy and laughter are something intrinsic to us all and are often the forgotten side to the story being told.  Looking at the positive side of a cause may help people feel a closer connection.

 

This isn’t about ignoring the pressing issues a charity is trying to overcome, but about achieving as much as possible. This could be a new approach to that.

 

What do you think? Is fundraising driven by data or people?

 

Jonathan Cook | jonathan@insight-ful.co.uk | +44 (0)7921 250 211

Jonathan @Linkedin | Twitter @jonathan_m_cook

 

Photo: Flickr/Kyle Nishioka

 

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