Most marketers will not be surprised by the research reported at Neuromarketing: Don't Sell, Seduce! It found that ads using logic to sell affected the brain differently from those that used "non-rational influence" -- you know, those ads that just have some kind of beautiful photo and the name of the product. They're usually for fragrances and other products with uncertain benefits.
The non-rational ads stimulated lower parts of the brain -- those areas that make the real decisions.
I've never seen a truly non-rational fundraising message. (Though I've seen plenty of irrational ones.) I don't know if it would work. But I'd love to see it tried, as Neuromarketing suggests:
Need to shake up your advertising and boost sales? Run a test of ads that skip the facts and logical persuasion, and instead show imagery of a place and state of mind where your target customer would like to be. Bypass the rational analysis, and appeal directly to your customer's emotions.
I dare an enterprising nonprofit to try this!
What is the place and state of mind where your donor wants to be? What is a picture of that like?
I'm going to be thinking about this a lot in the next few months.