Save the Education for Someone Who Needs It

Save the education.

Your individual donors, and the non-donors who have signed up for your email list, already care about your beneficiaries or cause.

They cared enough to give a gift, or to sign up.

So you don’t need to “educate them into giving a gift.” They already care. They don’t need to know more!

This is why donors respond better to “news about what’s going on” than they respond to “data about what’s going on.”

Here’s an example. There’s an organization called Ronald McDonald House that provides a place for families to stay when they’ve traveled to a hospital so that their child can get the care they need. They could begin a letter with the intent to educate donors into understanding how large the problem is, thinking that would result in more gifts…

“I’m writing you today to let you know that 1 in 5 families who have to travel long distances to take their child to a hospital are unable to afford a place to stay for more than two or three days.”

That’s education. Those are data about what is going on.

But what works better is a story like this…

“I’m writing you today because there’s a family in town from out of state so that their child can be cared for at Children’s Hospital. But the family can’t afford a hotel, so they are crashing in their car and couch-surfing with friends when they can.”

That’s news about what’s going on. Because it’s more emotionally engaging, more donors will continue to read. And when more donors continue to read, more donors will give gifts.

So save the education for someone who needs it before they will give, like a foundation, or a local government agency you’re making a case to, or a major donor who is an expert in your category.

Your individual donors are more interested in news about what’s going on and what their gift will do about it.