Year-end fundraising season is here and I’m seeing a steady stream of fundraising appeals arrive in the mail and in my inbox. As sure as I can count on receiving Aunt Nancy’s 3-page (front and back) annual family newsletter, there are a few themes that always seem to creep into the mix of these donation requests.
Photo Source: Big Stock Photo
At the risk of being a Scrooge myself, here are three holiday fundraising pet peeves that I hope to see less often this year:
- Making me feel guilty about my daily coffee: The classic line of forgoing a daily latte to make a donation is often used to illustrate how easy it can be to find a way to give a little and have it add up to a lot. However, the world is certainly not going to be a better place if I skip my coffee (trust me), and I want to be inspired to give, not guilted. Let me give my donation in a happy, caffeinated state and leave Starbucks (and guilt) out of it.
- Putting a snowman on it. (Or reindeer. Or fir trees.): Unless you are actually working to save snowmen, reindeer, fir trees — or any other emblem of the winter holidays, avoid featuring any of these as the star of your fundraising appeal. The best use of an image is showing me a real photo of the people or animals my donation will help. Bonus: Avoiding the traditional clip art will also help your appeals stand out from the crowd!
- Using too many shopping metaphors. Unless you can clearly tie the idea of shopping to giving the gift of charity, specific impact levels or a holiday giving catalog, as done very successfully by Heifer International or even Network for Good’s own Good Cards, consider leaving the shopping to the mall. Giving a donation is a highly personal and emotional act; don’t take me out of the moment by overusing phrases like: “buy now”, “holiday shopping” and “shopping list”.
Your best bet to get me to donate to your cause in December? Tell a great story, stick to the point and clearly tell me what I can do to help. Happy fundraising!