What’s your attention worth?
I read an interesting article a while ago in the New York Times.
Titled No Money, No Time, it was about different kinds of poverty.
You probably think about financial poverty, but maybe like me you hadn’t thought as much about time and mental bandwidth poverty. If you suffer from one type of poverty, the effect of another is compounded.
The article points out implications for financially poor people. (Complicated forms suck up both time and attention, for instance, and financially stressed people are already short on both).
But I think there might be a message for fundraisers here, too.
Our donors may or may not be financially poor. But many are dealing with too many demands on their time and/or attention.
And because our cause is not always their priority, what demands too much gets discarded.
So we don’t want to provide additional stress – we want to make our donors feel great about giving.
Too often, in a rush to explain why our organization is so great, we overwhelm our donors or potential donors. We’re more likely to succeed if we make it easy to understand how they can help and easy to make a gift.
Online, that means not hiding your website donation button.
You want it to stand out – ignore the designer if she complains about ruining the look. Your donation page should be simple to complete.
And if possible, cut distractions – like the menu, or more information about giving.
In appeals, keep the language simple.
Check your grade level and aim for 6th. Be clear about what you’re asking and why. You can state the problem simply and be compelling. Stories are great for this – because we’re wired to learn that way. They’re enjoyable and easy to digest.
Stories are great for this – because we’re wired to learn that way. They’re enjoyable and easy to digest.
Then be clear about what you want the donor to do. Don’t bury your ask. This is not the time to be timid! Being shy about the ask only makes it harder on the donor. Donors like to give – make it easy for them!
This is not the time to be timid! Being shy about the ask only makes it harder on the donor. Donors like to give – make it easy for them!
Keep it simple visually, too. Don’t use a small font size for space or design reasons. Try 14 or even 16, instead of 10 or 12. Indent your paragraphs and keep them short – you’re going to something easy to skim.
Don’t use a small font size for space or design reasons. Try 14 or even 16, instead of 10 or 12. Indent your paragraphs and keep them short – you’re going to something easy to skim.
In print, using a serif font makes it easier to read. (It used to be that a sans-serif font was easier online, but with new technology, that’s no longer always the case.)
Finally, for a mail appeal, make your response form as simple as possible.
It should be easy to fill out. I like to pre-print the donor’s name and address information. (If you know who you’re mailing to, why wouldn’t you?)
Keep anything a donor does have to fill out big enough to do with a pen. Leave enough white space so the form isn’t overwhelming.
What else? How are you making it easy to give?