What They Get Is Key to Why They Give
RELEVANT: We can’t easily change what our audiences believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-sets, we unleash great power behind our benefit exchange and our message. The values of our audience might have nothing to do with our cause, but we can still use them. A famous, frequently cited example of the value-based principle at work in social advertising is the successful “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign. The phrase has become so famous that many people outside Texas don’t even realize that it’s not a state slogan but rather a long-running marketing effort to get people to stop littering. The young Texan men who were the target of the campaign didn’t care about littering, but they did care about their macho image. And no one doubted the fierce pride they had for their home state. By tapping into these powerful feelings with the “Don’t Mess with Texas” concept, which didn’t have a thing to do with trash, the campaign drastically reduced roadside litter.
The bottom line? Doing good is not a one-way transaction. It’s an exchange — I give your cause support or dollars, and you give me some thing or some feeling that I want and value, right away. In my case, I gave to a woman in East St. Louis because she gave me faith in myself. And that is a benefit that not only compels a donation but is also most certainly priceless. FS
Katya Andresen is vice president of marketing at Network for Good, a nonprofit organization that helps other nonprofits raise money online.