Don’t Dull Your Fundraising Sensory Symphony
May 10, 2023
Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass
There was a time when food purchasing was multisensory. The food buying experience of a bygone era involved,
- Taste: Local markets or small shops offered samples galore. Sampling is far less common, relying instead on packaging and branding.
- Smell: Food shopping used to be an aromatic experience, with the smells of fresh produce, baked goods, and spices filling the air. Modern grocery stores are highly sterile with controlled air circulation and ventilation systems that limit the range of smells customers encounter. Add pre-packaging and the role of smell is all but gone.
- Sound: Markets were a cacophony of vendors calling out their wares, the bustle of other shoppers, and the occasional clanging of cooking pots or grinding of spices. Today we get elevator music or the dull hum of refrigerators. Talking with the butcher or baker or fish monger? A rarity, at best.
- Touch: In the markets of yesterday customers did much more touching and feeling with today dominated by prepackaging.
- Sight: Visuals have always played a role but today’s grocery shopping is almost entirely based on visualization. Product presentation, design, color (often artificially induced), and aesthetics dominate as choice drivers.
What the hell does this have to do with fundraising? Remember, channel is only a proxy for what matters, which is a multi-modality, multi-sensory campaign.
- Smell. Paper, glue and ink can be a part of the mail experience, not to mention scenting options. Not in the mix for digital but in-person events deliver here too.
- Taste: Events.
- Touch. Tactile matters in mail with paper stock and envelope textures. And it can be a part of in-person fundraising – events, F2F. Experiments show that a light touch on the shoulder or hand increases tipping, time spent in stores and charitable giving.
- Sound. Digital can shine here but so does telefundraising and F2F.
- Visual. Pretty obvious.
The idea of ‘digital-first’ or ‘digital-only’ or entire sensory and modal options being off the table is the modern-day grocery store. Be careful what you wish for…