It sounds like a promotion for a summer blockbuster movie, but it’s actually a formula for political fundraising.
Some might think this is cynical. However, if you’ve ever done any serious work in politics, as I have, you’ll know a few truths:
Most people have little interest in politics. Of those who are interested, only a few will ever do anything other than talk. Getting people to take action, such as making a donation, requires that you hit their hot buttons and hit them hard.
Which hot buttons seem to always work best? Anger. Fear. Revenge.
Nearly everything you’ll ever need to know about charitable fundraising you can learn from this video …
Okay, the video is silly. But it’s more on the mark than you might think.
Fundraising is a direct response specialty. Not many people can do it well because most think that it’s just about asking for money.
But it runs deeper than that. In fact, for charitable fundraising (the type of fundraising to support needy people), there is a formula you can tap into. This formula comes from an instinct to help that is hardwired into human beings.
The first rule of human behavior is that people make decisions emotionally, based on a feeling, need, or emotion.
This is important in all kinds of direct mail, but for fundraising letters, it is critical. Your letter must elicit an emotional response and channel it toward a donation.
A fundraising letter I received a few years ago from The Humane Society of the United States delivered so much emotional power, I still remember it to this day. It began bluntly:
I regret to inform you that The HSUS has conclusive evidence of the brutal murder of millions of dogs and cats…
…precious animals just like your own pet.
It’s the most deadly case of massive animal abuse ever in history. And I must warn you:
The sealed envelope I am sending you along with this letter contains graphic photographs of companion animals — dogs and cats — being slaughtered.
Please do not open this envelope unless you are prepared for the heartbreaking horror you will find inside.