Concrete, precise and specific words or statements make people feel more heard in donor service domains.
In donor service world this equates to raising more money without asking more. Indirect attribution. If you make me feel more listened to and satisfied, I’m much more likely to give the next time I’m asked. Think of this as increasing donor equity.
The concrete vs. less so is probably obvious,
“We’ll look into that” vs. “I’ll immediately review your donation record and ensure any errors are corrected by end of today”.
Here’s a more subtle example,
“I’ll fix that issue for you” vs. “I’ll correct that issue for you”
Correct directly refers to rectifying an error or making something right. Fix is a more general term and while it indicates remedying a problem it doesn’t take as much ownership of having created it.
The value of being concrete, specific and precise carries over to fundraising too. I’ve had occasion in past lives to do qualitative interviews with at-risk populations, drug addicts and homeless, as two examples.
There’s a thoughtful, well-intended point of view that describing people with those terms seems overly defining and dehumanizing. I’m not here to debate that point as I can understand the rationale.
I did think it worthwhile to share my anecdotal experience. These people, everyone I spoke with, described themselves that way. And, ‘owning’ it in a concrete, non-equivocal, non-abstract way was purposeful. For these folks it was about autonomy and choice and to put a name to it that, for them, fit.
I’m not saying that “experiencing homelessness” is inaccurate or wrong, I am wondering if it does the job those advocating for it think it does.
I’ll never forget one gentleman’s response when I asked for his reaction to that expression, “Experiencing homelessness? This isn’t a fucking Disney ride, I am homeless, and it sucks.”
Concrete, specific and precise.