Gloom and Doom are Downers
In other words, The Washington Post noted, fear rarely wins people’s hearts.
We should keep this in mind. Scaring people into giving is about as effective as a holdup: Someone will hand over his wallet, but he’s not going to feel good about it or you.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Threaten dire consequences only when there is an immediate, specific and feasible recommendation for remedying them. Show need alongside positive results. Give people a way to channel the emotions you evoke into real change.
That’s what we all want. We want to be able to change what’s wrong. We want to set things right. We want hope that things can be better. We want to aspire to be something more.
The last thing we want to feel is helpless. Remember that, and tap into those human needs as much as you can. Sell, don’t scold. Pair negative consequences of inaction with the uplifting image of action. Show the solution. Convince people that, together, we can handle the challenge, not just hand-wring our way into despair. In other words, break those chains of negativity. We want out of them. FS
Katya Andresen is vice president of marketing at Network for Good, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits raise money online, and author of the book, “Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes.”