Your Organization is Interesting, But do your Donors Know That?

In a struggling economy, when nonprofits suffer the most – it is vital to ensure that you are producing interest in your organization and cause with your donors. The best way to do this is to be interesting! Unfortunately many nonprofit communications tend to lack the drama that interests society at large, while the organization itself definitely doesn’t.

In an article we read recently in The Nonprofit Quarterly, author Tom Ahern discusses what he call s’ The Dance of the Four Veils’ which depicts the four main things nonprofits do to become less interesting, and we thought we’d break them down for you here.

  • Include the entire story, even if it involves a little conflict.
    The fear of offending, creating conflict or controversy can lend itself to boring correspondence. You may want to try ‘getting real’ in your communications and insert a little drama. This can create an emotional response in your reader, and will likely lead to a higher number of donations.
  • Use active verbs.
    The first way to provoke a lack of interest in a reader is to use boring, soft, bland words. Have you ever read something and after two sentences just scanned the rest and moved on to the next thing? I think most people do. Try inserting action verbs to create interest.
  • Create an Emotional Response
    The first way a brain responds is emotionally, and the second is rationally. If you can insert text that brings emotion to your reader they are more likely to continue paying attention. When writing your newsletters and correspondence materials consider these: hope, fear, desperation, sadness, salvation, anger etc.
  • Jargon
    You are reaching out to the average person. Keep your communications conversational and jargon free. You want your reader to easily understand what you are trying to say, not have to sit there trying to figure out why you’re so smart.

To read the article, The Dance of the Four Veils, by Tom Ahern, click here.