Easier Said Than Done: Three Laws of Fundraising Dynamics
The second law
Self-focused communication is an ineffective way to attract people and might make you come across as boring, clueless, creepy — or all three.
It’s easy to observe this law in action, because it applies to nearly all types of human communication. People connect through things they share in common — often small, even unimportant things. Let’s look at two relationship scenarios:
A relationship begins: Regular human version
Boy: “Hey, I noticed you aren’t eating the eggplant parmesan.”
Girl: “I don’t care much for eggplant.”
Boy: “No kidding! I hate eggplant, too!”
Girl tells an anecdote about how her dislike for eggplant once nearly caused her to lose her job.
This is a budding relationship that has potential. They start simple, and they build with give and take. The key is two-way communication. Each side pays attention to the other.
The way some nonprofits go about it, though, is a little different …
A relationship begins: Nonprofit version
Boy: “It appears you don’t like eggplant. I also don’t like eggplant. Indeed, I have hated eggplant since 1982, and I hate it 12 percent more than anyone else in my demographic. I also hate rutabagas, okra, bok choy and parsnips. But you’ll be happy to know my hate is not confined to vegetables. I hate goat milk, grits, pork, scallops and blancmange. I’m such an excellent hater, I even hate marshmallows. I have an impressive database of hates that makes me the most cutting-edge, efficient hater in the U.S., not counting Alaska, Hawaii and outlying territories. By the way, my approved font is Super-Narrow Sans, a cool, edgy and rare font. You’ll have to download it so you can read my messages.”
Girl: “Umm …”
Boy: “You need to marry me. Your dress will match my color palette.”
Girl nervously backs away, starts running as soon as she’s around the corner. Can you blame her?