August 25, 2023
Seth Merritt, DonorVoice, Vice President Product Strategy
It’s no secret, it’s increasingly difficult and expensive finding new donors online. Remember the Facebook ads glory days in the 2010s? It seemed all we had to do was upload a list of performing donors, spawn some lookalike audiences, toss in some photos with the right aspect ratios, slap a good caption on it, then sit back and count the money… amiright?
Well, it was never that easy. But it sure looks like a “kinder, gentler time” compared to today. What the heck happened? And what can we do about it?
To understand how we got where we are today, it’s helpful to take a broader view of the attention economy, how audiences (yes, you and I) are being packaged and sold. Renowned science fiction author and technology critic Cory Doctorow recently coined the phrase “Enshittification” to describe the deterioration we’ve seen across the social media landscape as users and advertisers.
“Enshittification: Surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.
This shell-game with surpluses is what happened to Facebook. First, Facebook was good to you: It showed you the things the people you loved and cared about had to say.
Then, it started to cram your feed full of posts from accounts you didn’t follow. At first, it was media companies, whom Facebook preferentially crammed down its users’ throats so that they would click on articles and send traffic to newspapers, magazines, and blogs…
Now, Facebook started to cram more ads into the feed, mixing payola from people you wanted to hear from with payola from strangers who wanted to commandeer your eyeballs… Sellers became dependent on Facebook, too, unable to carry on business without access to those targeted pitches. That was Facebook’s cue to jack up ad prices….
Today, Facebook is terminally enshittified, a terrible place to be whether you’re a user, a media company, or an advertiser. “
What’s a poor fundraiser to do?
What if, instead of just pounding the sand harder, there was a way you could fine-tune your acquisition approach? What if you could find the right donors for your cause, connect with these fellow human beings in ways meaningful to them, and establish long-lasting relationships that are valuable to everyone involved? Hallelujah! What is this techno-utopia, you ask?
It’s called Personality Matching, and it can radically increase the quality of your acquisition and fundraising results. Personality Matching takes elements of the attention economy that fundraisers are already using but channels these rivers of data through the turbines of behavioral science to produce a completely new source of clean fundraising power.
You have at your fingertips a new framework to communicate with potential supporters as if you already know them… because now you do!
By applying the well-established Five-Factor Model of personality into the fundraising context, you can master your message and fundraising strategy in a whole new way, segmenting your audiences in ways that haven’t been possible before.
You don’t have to “spray and pray” with a one-size-fits-none approach, and you no longer have to surrender (entirely) to the social network gatekeepers. You can reap the rewards of following the Platinum Rule: Treat others not how you would like to be treated, but how they would like to be treated. Speak to your donors as they would like to be spoken to and unlock new opportunities for long-term fundraising success.
Imagine (look below…) an evergreen, strategic brief guiding you on the way your prospective donor prefers copy, images and design? It’s almost like paint by numbers for those who love the idea of working smarter, not harder.
(Click Image to Enlarge)
The Enshittification of digital donor acquisition is upon us. Let’s lift ourselves up from the dunghill, dust ourselves off, and continue the vital work of building long-term supporter relationships.