A look at my Facebook feed shows many examples of organizations making the most of the year’s end.
The messaging isn’t always as good as the causes, however.
Here are some that caught my eye – and why I think they hit or missed.
Great cause. But hello, your fundraising goals are your (internal) problem.
Your fundraising goals are not motivating outside your office. They’re not compelling. It’s a lazy way to make a case for supporting your cause.
If it’s true that something awful will happen if your goal isn’t met, then tell us why giving is critical right now.
Think like a donor: what changes if I give? Focus your thoughts on active verbs: change, stop, save.
Tell me why a gift will support some terrific athletes with developmental disabilities. And why the need is urgent now.
Tell a story, connect me to one person, and make it emotional.
I get it. Your campaign is crazy-important to you. And you probably look at “End-of-Year Campaign” a million times a day, obsessively checking your progress. (I know I did!)
But capitalizing your internal campaign name doesn’t make it a thing to the outside world.
Tell me about why women’s history is so important. (And if you can’t make a compelling case for women’s history right now, then when?)
The language is confusing, too. The syntax is all over the place. “The first museum in our nation’s capital to show the full scope of the history of its women and will serve as a guiding light to people everywhere.” What?
Confusing people is not a good idea if you want them to act.
Focus less on the museum and more on how it affects women.
People are easier to relate to than a building. I wish they’d taken more from Albright’s quote and built on that.
“Hate” is a strong word. But they’re fighting a strong fight.
And those who respond to a message this powerful are likely to take action.
Then SPLC explains why membership matters – to the donor. What you can achieve by giving.
Organizations like SPLC will be critical in the coming years. They need to take advantage of the current climate – and I think this does.
You have to be hiding not to know what’s happening right now in Aleppo.
Who isn’t horrified by the situation?
UNICEF makes it timely and urgent with “the past 48 hours”.
And they use strong language to make a case with an emotional punch – “slaughtered” “desperate” “evacuation”.
Then the photo of children and the headline makes it all even more poignant. How do you look in those eyes and not want to act?
Of course, your year-end fundraising is bigger than Facebook.
But messaging is important, whatever channel you’re using. I know we’re all rushed, but resist the lazy.
You shouldn’t wait until now to build a really persuasive case for support. It’s the answer to a simple question: why should I give to you?
So please, remember your financial goals are not interesting.
Look for the emotion – that’s what ties us together as humans.
People are more likely to be feeling right now – feeling generous, feeling concerned, feeling nostalgic.
Help them turn those feelings into action for your good cause!
Top photo thanks to Ryan McGuire at Gratisography