Putting your donor in the picture

One of the most important lessons in fundraising is to recognise that your communications should be primarily about the donor, not about the organisation. Good fundraisers have know this for years. The essence of effective fundraising is about showing the donor (or prospective donor) how they can change the world, and how your organisation can facilitate them to do this. And the more inspiring and emotional you can be in doing this, the better.

In traditional media, the only way to achieve this was to talk to the donor. Address them directly and build the proposition around what they could do, rather than about what the charity could do.

With database driven direct mail, you can do all of this, and weave in historical, transactional and other data that you’ve built up about the donor.

This direct mail piece for Cork Simon Community, for instance, references and thanks donors for their previous giving, positions the donor as the solution to the problem AND uses the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ 14 times on the first page.

What has been simply considered good fundraising for the last god knows how many years also happens to coincide with what neuromarketing is suggesting about how our brains work and how we respond to messages. ‘Self-centred‘ is one of the six stimuli that appeal to the ‘Old Brain’ (for more on this, have a look at this post on SOFII or this presentation on slideshare).

And now, new technologies and new media are allowing us to personalise like never before. These two posts on the neuromarketing blog give you some idea of the ways marketers are really ramping up personalised advertising.

Putting your customer in the ad
Putting your customer on the product

Which in a roundabout way, brings me to our latest campaign for Belong To, a really cool organisation that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. One of their big campaigns is Stand Up! which tackles homophobic bullying. When they asked us to produce an online video fundraising campaign, we felt that the best way to really engage the viewer was by, literally, putting them in the video. The video is shot form the viewers POV and uses facebook connect to personalise it from the off, pulling in the viewers, name, photo, friends and even the name of their school.

It also does some clever things with text messages (which you’ll only be able to experience if you’ve an Irish mobile number). I won’t spoil the surprise, but if you can, do try it out.

Click here, or on the image above to see the campaign.

I hope you like it.