Our Work

The Super Bowl’s Finest Moment

Dodge Ram’s tribute to the American farmer, with the late Paul Harvey’s distinct voice over, was brilliant in its simplicity and emotional impact. I’m sure it was the talk around many water coolers on Monday morning.

But, it’s no surprise that it struck such a chord…

As a fundraiser and writer, I’ve come to understand and embrace the power of emotion to engage donors. And that’s why I’m often surprised to hear an executive director (or the non-profit’s board) decide that the last direct mail campaign was “too emotional” in reference to the appeals’ copy, the images, or both.

Instead, these well-intentioned leaders ask for more statistics, more organizational messaging, more “about us.”

Their intentions are good, but they are dead wrong. Testing has proven time and again that stirring key emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, etc. – not appealing to logic with facts and figures – is what drives a donor to action, volunteering, signing a petition or writing a check.

While the most effective non-profit direct mail works to engage both the “head” (providing facts/statistics) and the “heart” (story/emotion), various studies show that if you err on either side, better results are achieved with more “heart” and less “head.”

Are your own fundraising efforts too formulaic, too rational? If so, maybe it’s time to convince your boss or board to at least test injecting emotion into communications with your supporters.

Stir donors’ interest in your work with a true and authentic story. Focus it on the “story of one” – the single mom struggling to make ends meet or the Golden Lab that was beaten, tied to a chain and left to die by a heartless, hateful owner. Never forget this: the most jaw-dropping statistic is no match for a good personal story to capture attention and spur action. 

So, if your next direct mail appeal or e-mail campaign makes you cry, smile, scream, or get goose bumps, congratulations! Like those marketing gurus at Dodge already know, people respond to emotion. Trust me, your results will prove it…

Katapult MarketingThe Super Bowl’s Finest Moment