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Getting all Emotional

A while back I read something that really resonated with me. It was a tweet from Lucy Gower, professional fundraiser and  former NSPCC Innovation Manager, that spoke about the emotion in fundraising;

“Being professional not emotional is codswallop for fundraising – you are both, emotional connection is key to fundraising”

I could not agree more.

Creating an emotional response is critical

As a fundraiser, we must move people. We must move people to take action. And to move someone, we must inspire them. And to inspire someone we need to be able to connect with them. And that first connection must be made emotionally.

What that means is, you need to make your donors feel something; have a response to what you tell  them. Whether it’s made them sad, angry, happy, scared or excited – you want them to feel something… anythingbecause it’s that emotion that will drive them into action.

The diagram below may come in handy when planning your next campaign or appeal to donors. The Wheel of Emotions was developed by Robert Plutchik in 1980 to help categorise emotions. By referring to this chart you can decide what emotional response you want to achieve through your communications.

Here are a few more tips to help ensure you better connect emotionally with your donors;

1. Have a clear, concise and compelling reason why people should invest in your organisation.What is special about what you do?

2. Paint your donor into the picture. If they know they are (or could be) part of achieving your mission they will feel more emotionally connected to you.

3. Use words that have feeling in your stories and communication with donors. Develop a list of emotive words that you can refer to when writing.

4. Stay positive. While you often have to talk about something troublesome or sad your donors actually need to hear how your organisation has helped overcome these obstacles. They want to know the successful outcomes you have created.

“Fundraising isn’t about asking for money. It’s about inspiring people to believe they can make a difference – then helping them to make it.” – Ken Burnett

How do you ensure your campaigns have emotion? Are there any specific tools you use? Or what is something that has created an emotional response in you?

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.


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