Welcome to the seventh and final installment of my Fundraising Myth Busters series. I hope you’ve gleaned some valuable information that you can put to work to raise your organization more money. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the first six myths, you can do that here: Donor acquisition; Brand advertising & direct response fundraising; Solicitation frequency; Online-acquired donors; Cut acquisition to improve revenue; Major donors shouldn’t get your direct mail.
In this final installment, we’ll tackle what I think might be the most divisive myth in our sector. It’s the belief that images and stories of hope are more appropriate and will deliver better results than images and stories of need.
Here we go…
Hope gets better results than need
What we know
- Donors give to meet specific needs
- Happy photos and stories communicate that the problem is already solved (and if the problem is solved, you don’t need your donors).
How did we test this
- Although every nonprofit in the world challenges the need to display need – one of our largest international relief and development partners created a notable test of this theory.
- In an hour long direct response television program, they changed 22 seconds of copy and images to reflect more of the successful / hopeful, joyous angle of their work.
What we learned
- In this head-to-head test, those 22 seconds of joy and success reduced their response rate by 30%!
Showing need is a critical element to your direct response fundraising success. Click To Tweet Focusing only on success doesn’t inspire donors to give.
BUT…another client tested a direct mail package that relied on a before (need) and after (accomplishment/hope) approach against a pure need-focused package. This combined execution delivered a 10% higher response rate, but an 8.5% lower average gift. ROI was comparable across the two packages.
This tells me that there’s room for testing and creativity in this area.