Why This Trait That Almost All People Share Is Essential for Your Fundraising
Do you skip to the end when you’re reading a novel? Are you on the edge of your seat to see what happens next in a movie? When someone gives you a present, do you immediately want to rip it open and see what it is? Have you ever wondered how the pyramids were built? Right now, are you starting to wonder where this is going?
Curiosity. It’s a characteristic that’s common to, well, everybody. Instinctively, we want to know what’s next, what’s over that hill, what’s going on, what will happen.
That’s lucky for us as fundraisers because we want to use curiosity in all kinds of ways to get donors engaged in our appeals and keep them engaged.
But how? Here are three things to consider for the teaser on your next direct mail fundraising appeal, the subject line for your email appeal or to keep donors reading your appeals.
Reveal Less, But Not Too Much Less
Curiosity lies in the gap between what we know and what we want to know. So, to arouse curiosity, we want to provide just the right amount of information. If you give too little information, you’ll fail to spark curiosity. But if you give too much, you’ll smother it.
Say you need a teaser for your direct mail appeal. A teaser like “urgent need” provides little information, true. But it doesn’t give enough to whet the appetite for more. So, that one’s low on the curiosity scale.
On the other hand, something like “How $1 saved 20 people in Ethiopia from certain death” gives just enough information to get people wanting more. You have to wonder how something like that could be true. So that one’s higher on the curiosity scale.
To arouse curiosity, share just enough information to create questions in the reader’s mind. This is about leaving breadcrumbs, not giving away the whole loaf.
Talk About a Big Reward or a Big Disaster
The idea here is to present something that your donors would want, so they’ll be drawn to it. Or, to present something horrible, so they’ll want to avert it.
For example, an envelope teaser might say something like this to promise a big reward: “You, the neighbor everybody admires for saving seniors from hunger.” Donors might think, “Me, the neighbor everyone admires?” and want to find out how that would happen.
Or to present a big disaster, the teaser might be something like, “Thousands of vulnerable seniors will go hungry: city-wide crisis in Dayton.” The idea with presenting a big disaster is that people will often do more to avoid something bad than to cause something good.
Shock or Provoke a Little.
Use this cautiously. The idea is that, to arouse curiosity, you don’t always want to say something that satisfies your donor. You want to nudge them, maybe even challenge them a little, to get them to want to find out more.
In this case, your envelope teaser might be something like, “No playground for our kids while city fat cats get rich.” Along with some healthy outrage, your donor will likely want to find out why and how this is happening.
These are just some ways to evoke curiosity. There are many more. Using curiosity is a reliable method of attracting donors, but it has to be used skillfully, and it has to align with your offer and your audience if it’s going to work the way you want it to. But when it does, it’s a magnet drawing your donors to your appeal for higher open rates, higher engagement and higher revenue.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
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.