What Do They Read in Gitmo? (Datacards, Part 2)
There are 166 prisoners in the federal facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Demographically, they are 100 percent male, predominately Middle Eastern, and between the ages of 17 and 70. Virtually 100 percent are Islamic fundamentalists.
Now let's say you have the government contract to provide the reading materials requested by the inmates. What one book would you stock the most copies of?
"The Quran," right?
Wrong. Gitmo officials who spoke with a congressional delegation recently said the most asked-for book by the inmates is not a religious or jihadist book of any kind. It's the soft-core best-seller "Fifty Shades of Grey."
At first it seems a hilariously shocking choice. But when you consider that you have 166 red-blooded men — and combine that with the over-the-top chauvinism that's part of their code — it actually makes a lot of sense.
Here's why this matters to us as fundraisers: We make snap judgments about our donors every day. Conclusions that seem only logical. Yet, when we take a moment to evaluate a few more factors, we often find our first reactions were wrong. Wrong enough to hurt results.
Here, just as in last week's post, is where datacards come in. Let's take another look at the one we posted for the Harvard Health Letter the Tufts University Health And Nutrition Letter we looked at last Monday.
You'll remember that those prospects were overwhelmingly female, that they were three times as educated as the general population, and surprisingly active and fit for their generation.
Looking more closely at the datacard, we also see that 72 percent of the Harvard Health Letter's readers are age 55 and up, which makes them mere youngsters in the fundraising scheme of things.
A study published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals a few years ago, as well as plenty of other research, shows that this boomer generation differs from its older brothers and sisters in a number of important ways.
One of the most important is that boomers "plan on giving more in the future. In contrast, older donors in pre-boomer generations were more likely to reduce their giving in the future."
This makes cultivation for the long term every bit as important as going for the immediate gift.
These prospects are harder to win over initially, but once you get them on board, they're likely to be a lot more loyal.
So it's very important to tune in to the similarities and the differences between these prospects and the more typical donors. And to craft your creative accordingly.
Datacards offer a wealth of information. These examples just scratch the surface. Digging in to the data can take you way beyond what you learn from glancing at surface demographics and assuming you know your prospects.
And the better you know them, the more successful you'll be at influencing them.
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.