Hair’s how to raise more money
Asking people to do anything is tough. Asking them to give you money is even harder. Yet that’s what charity and social cause organisations have to do every day. Nearly all of their advertising focuses on one of two ways to unlock peoples’ wallets to raise money.
1) A rational message: Providing statistics that show how important the charity is, and how large the task at hand is. For example, how many lives are at risk, how many people have died, how many degrees the earth has warmed up and so on.
2) An emotive message: Showing evocative and emotive images of the cause (scenes of devastation) or the effect (scenes of happy, smiling people) of the charity. Fear, hope and joy are all obvious emotions to tap into.
However, lately, a third technique has emerged - one that appears to be gaining some traction.
This third way involves actually asking the donor, not only for their money, but to actually do something for the charity (as well as donate). Think of Movember – it not only asks people to raise and donate money, but also asks people to grow a moustache to show their commitment to the cause.
The same can be said for Lance Armstrong’s global phenomenon ‘Livestrong’. People showed their support by wearing a wristband. Both of these charities are asking for people to do something beyond just giving, and with amazing success.
At Naked Communications we wanted to compare the traditional methods (rational and emotive messaging) with this more ‘action orientated’ approach, getting people involved in the charity, participating in some capacity and only once they have done something, asking for money.
We teamed up with Deakin University and Save The Children and conducted an experiment. We divided people into one of four groups; one group received a rational message (facts and figures), the second an emotive message (smiling happy kids, with a lovely sound track), the third group was asked to create an advertising campaign for the charity, and finally there was also a ‘control’ group (where they solved unrelated puzzles). After being exposed to one of those four conditions each of the four groups was then asked for money.
It was the third of the these three groups, the ones who were asked to write an ad for ‘Save The Children’ that ended up donating the most money, on average an impressive $4.03 each (this represented about 35% of the money they had on them).
The rational group donated just $2.39 each, similar to the control, and the emotive group donated $3.69 each.
Three psychological principles worked hand in hand to ensure action-orientated approaches are more likely to extract the funds:
Firstly, the charity is giving people a ‘sense of ownership’, therefore people feel more responsible for the charity, and therefore are more engaged with the message.
Secondly, action creates a sense of ‘cognitive dissonance’, that is once people act in a certain way, they strive to align their thoughts and feelings accordingly. Thereby making it more likely to give to the charity.
Thirdly, people feel a sense of ‘autonomy’. That is, people are invited to interact with a message on their own terms versus it being forced on them. This circumnavigates resistance to the message, and makes it more likely they will give.
The results have a significant impact for charities and causes everywhere. If they involve people in their charity, rather than just ask for money (with either rational or emotive messages), then they have a much greater likelihood of success.
However, the results can probably also be generalisee to other behaviour change people want to make happen as well.
So if you have something you want people to do, or you have something to sell, then perhaps stop asking or pleading people, just get them involved, get them doing something, and the money will follow.
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