I'm currently doing some work on fundraising propositions and offers and received a timely reminder from the Wizard of Ads in his Monday Morning Memo about the importance of offering the public what you already know they want.
It is really tempting when your charity does lots of good work to try and fundraise off every service. Yet the likelihood is that only one or two of the things that you do are going to appeal to the general public.
It takes a lot of internal discipline to do this and the temptation is always there to try and promote your latest new service.
However, your job as a fundraiser is to maximise funds for the cause, not 'educate' the general public.
It's for this reason that many WWF recruitment ads feature tigers. Why Marie Curie always talk about their nurses and the reason child sponsorship is so important - these are the things that most donors want to give to.
Once the bait has been taken you can then (when the time is right) talk about the other great things that donors can help you achieve.
This is what Roy had to say about the subject in his newsletter when talking about products. Much of his advice equally applies to fundraising:
"Your copy, indeed, was fabulous. You employed an excellent angle of approach, held the listeners' attention and made your point in a clever way. Well done! But your fundamental strategy was flawed; your ad answered a question that no one was asking.
"You walked into the trap when you failed to question why the client was overstocked on the item he wanted you to advertise. The real problem is that no one wants the item. It's a loser, a dog, a mistake. Your client assumed - and you assumed with him - that if people "only knew and understood," then they'd rush in to buy the product. So you told the people, you made them understand. And they still didn't want the product.
"Advertising will only accelerate what was going to happen anyway.
"Convince your client to let you offer the public what the public already wants. This is what drives traffic into a store. And many of those people will find other things to buy from your client. In other words, fish with bait that you know the fish love. Don't try to convince the fish to swallow bait they don't really like."