Emotion and Logic:
Twins for Creating a Successful Fundraiser
Did you know that all human actions are based on emotions? It's true, and the stronger the emotion that is created, the more likely we are to act.
This fact applies to everything we do including how we buy things, how we parent and even how we brush our teeth.
C'mon, admit it. You brush your teeth because, deep down inside, you're afraid that if you don't, you could have problems like a tooth ache, yellowed teeth or bad breath. All three can create emotional fears.
So you rationalize that brushing your teeth is smart (the logical thing to do) and you take action.
There's no exception to this rule.
In the same way any effective fundraiser (which is selling someone on making a contribution to a cause) must first appeal to each potential donor on an emotional level. I mean, who really logically needs more candy, cookies or a bracelet you see at a silent auction? Rather, want the pleasure of eating the sweets or the 'feel-good' of wearing a nice bracelet, and then we rationalize the purchase; It will help a good cause.'
Emotional Appeal is Real
Emotions can be generated in a variety of ways.
Your cause itself can elicit emotions, which will help donors rationalize their purchase.
Likewise, what you are selling to raise monies can elicit emotions. For example, you may not care about contributing to a particular cause, but because they are offering something you really like, the emotional appeal of the product helps you rationalize the purchase.
Girl Scout cookies are a great example of this. Sure, you may like the Girl Scouts, per se, or you may care less, but if you're a big fan of the taste or texture of Thin Mints or Tag-a-Longs, the cause becomes secondary.
I love Thin Mints (more than I should), so if the seller is polite and I haven't already purchased multiple boxes from another smiling face, I may just buy the cookies. Why? Because at some level I really like the taste and get a warm feeling when I eat one.
In this case, my loving the taste of the cookie drives an emotional response, and I rationalize my purchase (even though it may not be best for my waistline) with the logic of helping the Girl Scouts raise money towards a good cause.
Capturing More Through Emotion
So, how can you take this information and use it to generate even better fundraising results? Here's a short list to think about.
Create more emotional interest in your cause: This isn't always an easy thing to do. Generally, people either understand your cause or they don't. So, your message is critical and should include both emotional and logical reasons for the buyer to take action.
For example, 'Mr. Smith, we're raising money for our school' is not the same as 'Mr. Smith, we raising money so that all of the kids at our school can have the school supplies they need to succeed.'
Use imagery: Use stories to paint a picture (or show an actual one) of how the purchase will benefit the cause, or will benefit the purchaser. Being able to see a positive result in the mind's eye makes it feel more real.
Help the potential donor understand how he or she will feel because they contribute or how they will feel when using the item they buy.
Offer a product that generates an emotional response: Candy and cookie dough does so implicitly for anyone with a sweet tooth, and t-shirts with a school name on them will do so for those who want to be seen as supporting the school when they wear the shirt (pride). Both reasons are emotional, but the purchase will be rationalized with logic like 'It's a good cause' or 'I can always use another t-shirt.'
My company, ExactMats, entered the fundraising space by creating a clear liner/mat product that almost invisibly protects surfaces from becoming damaged. One emotion the product appeals to is the fear of damage, or the desire to keep surfaces in good shape. The logic is using our product is that it's simply a smart thing to do. Why? Because it reduces the risk of damage.
The product can also be written on with dry-erasable markers (the emotion here is 'fun' and the logic is 'this could be useful for, say, keeping a grocery list').
The important thing is to make sure your sales and marketing efforts appeal to emotion, but you also must always have a logical reason why it makes sense to the potential consumer to make the purchase.
Blend the two together in your messaging, and your results will blossom in a much more powerful way.
Ken Olan is Co-Founder of ExactMats, a Houston-based company whose mission is to create greater peace of mind for its customers through the creation and distribution of innovative products.