It seems certain words do more to activate the brains of readers than others, as reported at the Neuromarketing blog: Persuade with Silky Smooth Copy.
A recent study (Metaphorically feeling: Comprehending textural metaphors activates somatosensory cortex) compared people's unconscious reactions to "textural metaphors" compared to non-textural phrases. Like these:
Having a bad day?
Having a rough day?
The use of "rough" in this context caused sensory areas of the brain to be activated while "bad" did not.
What can we fundraisers do with this information? Easy: Look for those texture words:
Say "sharp pain" instead of "severe pain." "Smooth" instead of "easy." Find ways to use words like gravelly, crunchy, bumpy, silky, hard, soft.
Your fundraising can still perform poorly if you do this, but if you're getting everything else right, prompting more action in your donors' somatosensory cortexes can only help.