Paper Cup Cultivation (for Fundraisers)
So, there I was at Captain D’s (don’t ask), munching a piece of broccoli, when I glanced up and read this copy on the paper cup in front of me:
Sliced, whisked, hand-dipped, battered,
baked, and seasoned. Top quality fish
and seafood prepared 40 different ways,
each one just the way you like it — kitchen fresh!
“Kitchen Fresh” — wow, who wouldn’t want that?!?
What the heck “kitchen fresh” actually means is anybody’s guess, but it sure sounds wholesome and yummy. And those first six verbs. Mmmm. The copy was so well-written it actually made my food taste better while I was eating it.
Which was exactly the point. Captain D’s, like most retail operations, understands the importance of constantly reinforcing the customer’s decision to buy.
It knows that in a highly competitive environment, top-of-mind awareness can determine the difference between getting the sale or seeing it go to the Burger King across the street.
In marketing, familiarity breeds credibility. That used to be a problem for direct-mail fundraisers because it was expensive to send cultivation pieces that didn’t bring in money.
“Engagement” is such a benign-sounding word. What you’re really doing, one hopes, is cultivating.
If you think about social media the way retailers think about advertising, it can help you craft content that informs and enlightens readers but, more important, reinforces their decision to support you.
In that mile-a-minute world, it means you have to be interesting. Posting and tweeting events and links are not enough. Your content needs to speak directly to donors about the ways they’re helping you fulfill your mission. And it needs to constantly remind them that you can’t change the word without their help.
Get stories and photos from the field. Talk to front-line program directors on the phone. Post real stories of your donors’ dollars at work, as well as real stories of the challenges that need their help.
To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, ask not what social media can do for you; ask what it can do for those who support you.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 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, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.