Two basic truths every fundraiser should keep in mind all the time:
- We are talking almost entirely to older people.
- Emotion is what persuades people to give, not facts.
And these two truths are tightly intertwined.
Here's how, from Engage:Boomers, at What We've Learned About Marketing To Baby Boomers:
As we approach midlife (40+), we increasingly draw on right brain functions.
That's right: as we age, the way we use our brains changes.
This is one of the things that makes fundraising hard: Many fundraisers are younger -- still in the left-brain phase of life. If you're that age, the things that persuade you tend to be interesting facts and solid arguments. Emotional fundraising seems like utter pap, ridiculously unpersuasive.
Now there's a bit of an illusion here: What you consciously think will persuade you is not the same thing as what actually does persuade you in real life. Even pre-midlife brain-shift people are more emotion-driven than they think they are.
Main point: for fundraising to work, it needs to aim at the heart. That's true for all donors. It's emphatically true for the main group of donors -- people aged 60 and up.
The secret to success if you're under 50: Don't work to persuade yourself. Be consciously aware of what works ... and create emotional fundraising messages, even if they seem "off" to you.