Is Clickbait Fundraising Evil? The Answer May Shock You!
But the problem with clickbait is not the bait. It's the switch. There are plenty of writers who use clickbait to get noticed. They promise you something interesting — and then they deliver on their promise:
For writers trying to draw attention to an organization's important work, this can be a clever way of getting people to read, feel and give. As Anil Dash, co-founder and CEO of ThinkUp, points out, "Writing evocative headlines is a good thing if it gets people to see content of substance."
The fact that some writers use clickbait for devious purposes doesn't make the technique itself bad, any more than a pickpocket makes fingers bad.
As fundraisers we're obliged to use our powers for good. So if we can adopt and adapt a technique to make our teasers more teasing, the result just might be more opened packages. More gifts to nonprofits. And maybe little corners of the world made better.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.