Guilt: It Usually Works
Guilt as a motivator has been around a long time. It can get a donor to respond—for a while.
As donors get more sophisticated and demanding, guilt becomes less and less effective.
And yet, it’s a perennial favorite of nonprofits. I saw this appeal recently, which was sent to existing donors to a particular charity:
“Did you see that we offered you a complimentary pass earlier this week for making a gift to __________________? If you didn’t respond, make sure you go back, find our email sent on Wednesday and read it now. Just know that we’re leaving this opportunity open one more day!”
How’s this for scolding a potential donor for not giving? Can you believe this? Shame on you if you didn’t respond to our offer; you ungrateful boob!
This appeal brings guilt to a whole new level: scolding.
I never followed up on this to see if they raised any money with this approach. I’m sure it brought in a little.
But they burned a whole lot more bridges. This is an extreme example, of course.
When you reach out to donors, remember they’re in charge. Principle 7 of The Eight Principles™ is Renew & Refresh™. Build the strongest possible relationships with those who support us, even as we reach out to expand our family of supporters.
Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea.
To your fundraising success!
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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