Fundraising and the Backward Brain
This was a right-hemisphere intuition, one that seldom holds up to scrutiny. Donors who give more than $100 behave much like donors who give less than $100.
There are some behavioral differences between higher and lower donors (the most important being that higher donors tend to give less frequently), but the two groups are not all that different. In fact, most donors who give more than $100 reached that level because they were motivated by "low-end" fundraising in the first place.
Many fundraisers have dramatically slashed donation revenue by making this nonfactual assumption that donors who write bigger checks have completely different motivations.
Flip No. 3: Don't bother recent donors
A final right-hemisphere decision that creators made was to exclude all donors who had given in the last six months from getting the mailing. "They'll just be annoyed if we ask them again," the creators said.
The facts show that the time a donor is most likely to give is soon after giving. The more recently someone gave, the more likely she is to give again. This is counterintuitive, but factual. It is pure right-hemisphere speculation to think you can raise more money by "resting" donors from appeals after they give.
Flip No. 4: Reason vs. emotion
As the creators outlined and wrote the copy for Project X, they started to experience right-to-left hemispheric flips.
The first right-to-left flip was the decision to structure the entire message around five reasons people should give. All five were very good reasons to give — things like price, efficiency and efficacy.
If right-hemisphere thinking had been happening at this point, the error of this approach would have been clear. While people say (and no doubt believe) they give for purely rational reasons, they don't.