Some organizations use print media such as membership and patron magazines for fundraising. As a rule, these media are intended to effectively achieve a number of communication goals and to place concerns with the recipients. One of these is to use images and words to encourage people to donate.

However, the 'fight' for donations has become tough. We find appeals for donations in our mailboxes with increasing frequency. This increasing communication pressure has at least three possible consequences: First, the (potential) donors simply can't keep up financially because of the sheer number of appeals; second, they have a hard time making up their minds because of the large "selection"; or third, they generally become numb to the countless appeals. My neighbor, for example, has neatly collected the appeals for donations that are annoying for him and delivered them to the local newspaper with a corresponding letter to the editor.

A closer look shows: mostly aid organizations or other NPOs seek sender-related fundraising success by showing how donations are used or what the organization does in the field. To convey seriousness, they rely on facts and figures. Efficient use of funds and serious work with partners in the respective areas are shown. This comes across as serious - but the bare facts and figures can hardly generate the emotions in people that are needed to persuade them to donate.

This requires an organization to win people's hearts as an important problem solver. To achieve this, it is not enough to simply show pictures of happy people. It is more effective to first trigger strong feelings of sympathy, for example by drastically depicting the originally miserable conditions. The frequently depicted meetings between the own cadres with local authority representatives seem sender-related and technocratic. The recipients can better identify with authentic, personal stories and experiences of helpers on the ground. It is this mix of strong empathy and high personal identification that positively influences the donation decision.

In other words, if you want to persuade donors to use money to solve problems, you must first make them aware of the problems.

Joachim Tillessen
Lecturer for communication

University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
University of Applied Sciences
[email protected]


Posted in NPO Communication

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