In a post called “How to change the world,” Seth Godin recently said,
All successful cultural change (books, movies, public health), has a super-simple two-step loop:
It’s easy to focus on awareness. Get the word out. Hype. Promo.
I think that’s a mistake.
Because awareness without tension is useless.
The tension is like pulling back a rubber band.
WHY would someone who becomes aware take action?
Here’s how that works in nonprofit fundraising:
- Awareness – the nonprofit creates this. Nonprofits make donors aware of the problem that needs to be solved, of the need that needs to be met.
- Tension – the donor feels this. They feel the tension between the way the world is today and how they wish the world would be.
Seth asks, “WHY would someone who becomes aware take action?”
Here’s our answer for fundraising: a donor will take action when the internal tension they feel is strong enough, and when the nonprofit makes it easy for the donor to see that their gift will make a meaningful difference.
This is the successful recipe for an appeal: show the donor what’s happening in the world, and show the donor what their gift will do to solve the problem.
The nonprofit provides the awareness of the problem. The donor provides the tension. The result is a gift. And the partnership between the nonprofit and the donor changes the world.
There are other pieces of communication necessary, of course. Nonprofits should Thank their donors, and Report back to them on what their gifts accomplished.
But – importantly – do any of your fundraising pieces create awareness of the need, let the donor experience tension, and then make it easy for the donor to see the change in the world that their gift will make?