Shifting Baselines of the 'Movable Middle'
Clara's not exactly sure where she stands on this whole gay marriage thing. On the one hand, you know, she wants to be fair. She knows a lot of gay people. Shoot, even her cousin Sharon has a girlfriend, and she's really a good person.
It's just that she's always been raised to believe that marriage is for men and women. Her mother would totally freak out if she knew what Clara was thinking. But the way things are now isn't really fair, is it?
Clara feels this way about a lot of things. She genuinely cares about people who aren't getting a fair shake. But she was brought up a certain way. And it's not always easy to shake off the ideas you were raised with.
The thing is, Clara's empathy and desire to help others would make her a perfect donor ... if you can win her over. Clara is a member of the "Moveable Middle."
She has more potential than a warm lead from a favorable-looking list, but she's not quite an ardent supporter just waiting to be asked to donate. She's not on your side, but she's persuadable.
So how do you reach her? How do you steer her from ambivalence to passion? The answer is consistent, high, gentle touch. Clara is a media consumer, so the more channels she sees you on, the more credibility you have.
But most important, write to her.
Send her a personalized letter that doesn't browbeat her with too much gloom and doom. But do convey a very strong sense of urgency and the critical importance of a positive outcome to your mission. It's probably going to take a long letter, because you need to reinforce your points and give her a full picture of yourself and the important work you do. And you have to ask her several times for the gift you want.
All that's just the beginning. If she does send you a gift, she's going to want some serious cultivation — immediate, customized acknowledgments, frequent online updates, regular mail appeals.
Face it: Clara's going to be high-maintenance. But in return for your efforts, you'll get loyalty and evangelism.
There's no fervor like new-convert fervor. And if you educate her properly and keep her close to your heart, she's more likely to become a sustainer, a major donor and a planned giver.
Finding your Moveable Middle prospects requires good data and patient recruiting. But the donors you get will reward your hard work and then some.
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.