Monday, November 29, 2010

Forget Cyber Monday. Buy Green Gifts Today!

Green Gift Monday

If you're like most Americans, you'll spend at least a portion of your day at work today (Admit it.  I know you do it too!) scanning the Internet for holiday gifts.  It's Cyber Monday - one of the busiest shopping days of the year for online retailers. In fact, last year it's estimated that consumers spent $890 million online.  Yikes!

I'm all for fueling the economy, but do we have to do it with junk?  The folks at The Nature Conservancy say, "Heck no!"  And, they've come up with some great gifts ideas that are bound to spread joy and cheer this season without ending up in a landfill.  Check out their new site Green Gift Monday for ideas.

I'm partial to giving donations to friends and family members in lieu of gifts.  But if you've got to have something in your stocking, how about gifts made from recycled materials?  Buying experiences is another option.  One of the best gifts I ever received was a night out on the town with my hubby!

Another great way to "green" your holiday season is to send FREE e-cards instead of paper.  (Check out the options we offer at Care2.)  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans send 1.9 billion Christmas cards each year.  I love beautiful cards too, but again it's important to think of the environmental cost of all that paper waste!

Check out The Nature Conservancy's Green Gift Monday Guide for more ideas on how to "green" your holiday season.

What's your best green gift?

Cheers!
Jocelyn

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lose the Statistics: Take 2



Last week, I wrote this post about the importance of NOT including statistics in your year-end appeals (and for that matter your year-round appeals) if your goal is to raise more money.

The main point I made is this.  According to research in behavioral economics, statistics actually depress giving by making us go into an analytical vs. empathic state of mind. 

However, I left out an important part of the research.  Please see below.
"A study by researchers Deborah Small, George Lowenstein and Paul Slovic examined the impact difference types of appeals had on charitable giving to a hunger relief organization. 
The first appeal asked donors to help Rokia, a young girl from Mali who was very poor and who faced starvation. 
The second appeal presented facts and statistics about the millions of hungry children facing starvation in African countries. 
The third appeal included BOTH (my emphasis) the personal story and the facts about widespread starvation.

People shown the personal story donated twice as much money overall as those given the facts and figures. 
The third appeal - the combination of the personal story and statistics - worked only slightly better than the facts-only appeal."
Again, we know that statistics alone are BAD, BAD, BAD for fundraising.  Phrases like - "925 million people are going hungry" DO NOT MOVE PEOPLE TO ACTION. 

But what we also know is that EVEN INCLUDING STATISTICS IN A PERSONAL STORY CAN DEPRESS GIVING. 

LOSE THE STATISTICS!  Focus on one story about one individual.  See what happens.


Cheers!

Jocelyn

P.S.  For more on behavioral economics and what it means for your fundraising program, check out this FREE e-book, Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth About What People Really Think and What it Means for Promoting Your Cause by my friends Katya Andresen of Network for Good, and Alia McKee and Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Want to Raise More Money This Holiday Season? Lose the Statistics.


  • 6 million children die of hunger each year.
  • 200 million people around the world could be displaced by more intense droughts, sea level rise and flooding by 2080.
  • 77% of students say that they have been bullied.
These are just a a few examples of the types of statistics that you can find on most nonprofit websites. 

Facts like these are the backbone of many a "case for support."  The problem is that research shows that, contrary to popular belief, statistics like these DON'T MOVE PEOPLE TO ACTION.  Instead, they actually DEPRESS fundraising results.

A new book, Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney, documents research which shows why statistics don't work.  Namely, statistics lead us to think analytically and "thinking analytically actually reduces people's generosity." 

"A study by researchers Deborah Small, George Lowenstein and Paul Slovic examined the impact different types of appeals had on charitable giving to a hunger relief organization. 
The first appeal asked donors to help Rokia, a young girl from Mail who was very poor and who faced starvation. 
The second appeal presented facts and statistics about the millions of hungry children facing starvation in African countries. 
The third appeal included both the personal story and the facts about widespread starvation. 
Which of these three ads would you guess generated the largest amount of donations from study participants?

People shown the personal story donated twice as much money overall as those given the facts and figures.  The third appeal - the combination of the personal story and statistics - worked only slightly bettern than the facts-only appeal...

If our minds worked logically then learning the statistics on how millions of children are starving should make us give more than learning about the plight of one individual child, yet the opposite results were found... Thinking analytically reduces most people's generosity (Small, Lowenstein and Slovic 2005)."
The other problem is that people don't trust numbers.  You've heard the saying, "Figures don't lie.  But liars figure."

So what's a nonprofit to do? 

You've heard this before, but according to the research above, the best way to motivate people to give more money is to appeal to their EMOTIONS vs. their REASON. One way to do this is to tell a story about ONE person, animal, etc. and lose the statistics.

CARE is good at this.  Check out this appeal that I received in my inbox today.


  
By focusing on one mother - Hasana - CARE tells a powerful story about the impact of poverty on one human being.  According to the study above, this appeal should outperform others which focus on the collective impact of poverty and hunger.  

Another way to appeal to people's emotions vs. reason is to use lots of images in your fundraising materials.  For example, I love the way that Vital Voices (literally) highlights the women it serves.  These photos speak louder than words and help connect me to their work.

Have you done a similar analysis of fundraising appeals in your organization?  

Got any examples of nonprofits that do a particularly good job of telling stories about how INDIVIDUALS are impacted by their work?  Please comment below or send them my way.

Happy fundraising!

Jocelyn



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Women Rule the Philanthropic Roost!


“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again”
Remember this little ditty by Helen Reddy?  I know; I’m dating myself. 

I started humming it after reading Women Give 2010, a new study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. 

It shows – what many us already know – women rule the philanthropic roost!
According to the study, “women at every income level give to charity more often than men do.  What’s more, at almost every income level, the amount women gave exceeded that of men in comparable circumstances. For example, women who earn $23,509 or less gave an average of $540 per year to charity, while men in that income bracket with similar life circumstances (such as education and number of children) gave $281. Women who earn more than $103,000 annually gave $1,910 to charity, while their male counterparts gave $984.”  You can check out the study here.
What this means for you as a fundraiser. 

If you don’t already have a strategy for connecting with women, you need one!
“If you do not pay attention to women, you will lose out on a huge audience. This trend will continue as women continue to gain income, education, and wealth. Women also outlive men, so you really have to pay attention to women as donors,” said Debra Mesch, the study’s author.
A strategy for reaching out to women should include an understanding of why women give, when, where, and how.  It should also include a plan for recruiting more women to your organization or cause.

Care2 (my company) can help!

75% of our 14 million + members are women! 

In addition, we have a great Women’s Rights Cause Channel, where you can guest blog for FREE!

Finally, when you run a campaign with Care2, we promote it via some great women’s sites, including CafĂ© Mom, and Ms.Magazine.  Check out the Care2 widget below.

Sing it with me…
“I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman!”
Cheers!
Jocelyn

Monday, November 1, 2010

How WHOLE is Your Heart?



  • Are you afraid to speak up?
  • Do you worry that you are not enough?
  • Do you pretend to be dumber or smarter than you are?
  • Are you hiding for fear of people finding out the truth about you?
This inspiring TED talk by Brene Brown confirms what many of us forget but already know.  Having an open and WHOLE heart means being vulnerable.  It means showing the parts that hurt and being willing to risk embarrassment, fear and shame.

Vulnerability or "the state of being exposed" is not comfortable.  In fact it can make you feel anxious, sleepless and tense.  But that is not the point.  The point is that it being vulnerable is the bridge to get us to the other side.  To enable us to commune with each other. 

Every time you risk loving someone who doesn't love you back.  Every day you say "hello" first.  Every minute you listen deeply instead of talking.  You sow the seeds of trust.  You also exercise your own emotional muscles.

Tell the truth about who you are, where you stand, and what you believe.  Live with compassion.

Warmest regards,

Jocelyn