Suppose you wanted to create a model Stupid Nonprofit Ad. Here's a checklist:
You've pretty much created this corker of a TV spot for Oxfam GB.
Here it is:
Or watch it here on YouTube.
What draws fundraisers to abstraction? In this case, the reality is that the organization does specific activities designed to bring about specific changes. But the ad just says "Lift lives." That's a metaphor for helping people. And it's only a metaphor. Not the real thing.
The ad skips over the problem that donors can help solve by giving. Instead, we get glimpses of a solution, plus a fake outcome (people floating a foot off the ground).
Donors may not understand your programs, but they are not stupid. You don't have to say to them, What we're going to do is sort of like making people float above the ground -- the way you might with a young child who has no life experience to ground his comprehension.
Fundraising is about connecting donors with solvable (and real) problems. Empowering them to make the world specifically better. When you symbolize that change with an abstraction, you're just blowing smoke.
Thanks to Tobin Aldrich for the tip.
More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.