I received a lovely email from the Fundraising Everywhere folks. In it was a piece by Wayne Murray. He urged all of us in the nonprofit sector to be more human.
That gets a rousing YES! From me.
But then we veered from the big picture – keeping fundraising human – to tactics like font choice and size. Or using the envelope that means your letter is more likely to be opened.
Without taking a thing away from his point, I want to say that the tactics Wayne mentions – backed up by studies and by years of (human) experience – are very human. (And after a quick chat on Twitter, I’m glad to say that Wayne and I are in agreement on this.)
We make those choices because they’re more likely to reach beyond the wall of commercial stuff in our mailboxes or inboxes. We make those choices because they suit our readers better.
And yes, we do think about results. They tell us how real people are responding. And that’s important to know.
But we can’t get those results if we can’t reach our audience.
If a young fundraiser with excellent vision and a taste for what’s new chooses a font she likes… it may be too difficult for the donor to read.
And that would be terribly sad, because those older people, particularly older women, are the most likely to want to receive the message. They enjoy reading. They feel good when they can help. So it’s a kindness to use the font that makes it easy for them to read.
I want to quote a recent newsletter from my friend Julie Cooper here:
The kindest thing you can do for a donor is to use clear, simple language to show need and impact.
It’s a kindness to make what we send feel like a real letter or an email from a friend. And do it without cynicism.
Humans come in all sorts of ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. We have a great variety of loves and hates and needs. But we all have feelings. We all want to be seen and maybe even understood. We like to feel needed.
Can we fundraisers get lost in the weeds of our tactics and forget who they serve? We can. We do. So the reminder to keep humanity at the front of our work is critical.
So let’s do that.
Let’s think about the reader of what we write.
Let’s communicate with passion for beneficiaries and those who give.
Let’s value every gift as a gift from the heart, regardless of its size.
And let’s treat each other with the same kindness.
Thank you, Wayne, for the reminder.