Read This in the Next 5 Minutes!!!
The TV glows in a dark living room at 3 a.m. when suddenly a commercial flashes onto the screen. The pitchman, smiling broadly, holds up a kitchen knife. But not just any kitchen knife. This is the amazing Ginsu. A knife so incredibly sharp it glides through a soft, ripe tomato, as paper-thin slices drop to the cutting board. And so strong it can cut this soda can, as the can falls into halves. And so durable it can stand up to this — as one hammer blow after another rains down on the blade of the knife but leaves no damage.
You’ve just witnessed a product demo. It’s the key part of the proven formula that makes up an infomercial. But what does this have to do with fundraising?
Gems of direct response
You might think infomercials are corny and campy. Maybe so. But they’re also gems of direct response. And with the product demo as the highlight, infomercials are crafted, cut and polished to do one thing — engage prospects so completely that they respond — NOW!
That’s the goal of fundraising, too — engaging donors so completely that they respond now.
With a bit of thought about the offer you make to your donors, it’s possible in the copy for your appeals to create something akin to the power of the infomercial demo — to create a kind of demo that takes place in your donor’s mind’s eye.
Let’s take a look at the role the demo plays in an infomercial, and then we’ll see how to apply it to fundraising.
The demo, most of all, is a dramatization of the product’s benefits. But in order to be successful, it has to do a few things. First, it has to surprise people. Pitchmen know that they can’t bore their prospects into buying. So the demos are unexpected, unusual and sometimes a little over the top. OK, a lot over the top. But the exaggerated use of the product can break viewers out of their apathy and draw them in.
An agency-trained, award-winning, freelance fundraising copywriter and consultant with years of on-the-ground experience, George specializes in crafting direct mail appeals, online appeals and other communications that move donors to give. He serves major nonprofits with projects ranging from specialized appeals for mid-level and high-dollar donors, to integrated, multichannel campaigns, to appeals for acquisition, reactivation and cultivation.