Just those first few notes and I’m transported to 1981 and formative years, memories and emotions. It creates a physical response, those music chills.
Journey’s, Don’t Stop Believin’ is iconic for me but here’s the paradox: you only hear the music because Journey plays, but you don’t feel the connection because they play. You feel it because the music touches something inside you tied to values, memories, emotions…
In the same way, nobody gives because you ask. They only give if it stirs a connection to their needs, values, goals, emotions…
And yet our industry is built on volume, as if playing the music louder will create a connection that doesn’t exist. It won’t. And worse, we play the same song over and over and pretend as if people won’t grow weary, tune out. And for the very small percentage who keep giving? They’re doing it in spite of auto-play loop barrage of asking, not because of it.
And this is to say nothing of the fact that different people like different music, in the same way, different people are attracted to different aspects of the same cause, based on their personal story and connection.
- People do not give because we ask even though they only give when we do.
- And people give to the same cause with equal passion and commitment but for different reasons.
The sector is playing the same song to everyone at an ear shattering decibel as the number of asks goes up exponentially causing response rates to dwindle and donors to change the station.
If your plan is to go from 2 appeals (or 10) to 4 (or 20) and send the same thing to everyone and you arrived at this plan by saying we need to raise more money, then you’ve mistaken condition for giving (asking) with the reason for giving. This isn’t a strategy, at least not one that ends well. What happens after 2 to 4? 4 to 6 or 8 or 12? What’s the endgame?
There is a strategy and plan to raise money that does, of course, arrive at a certain number of asks across channel over the calendar year. But that is a natural by-product, not a starting point or conscious arbiter of the strategy.
Groups are doing this differently and yes, the ones I know of are DonorVoice agency of record clients. They’re pulsing with “on” and “off” periods of activity to reduce irritation, matching message to Personality to play different music to different people, measuring donor satisfaction…the list goes on.
But none of that matters if your starting premise is that people give because we ask. Don’t Stop Believin’, there is a better way.