Psychology for the win!

You could almost call this a follow-up to why ROI is stupid but I won’t as this post is about the most important paper I’ve seen thus far on raising money and getting people to care about your nonprofit. No, I’m not kidding. THE MOST IMPORTANT.

OK, I will admit that I love psychology maybe even more than social media primarily because they both deal with the same thing, people, how you think, how I think, why we think that way, what causes us to do what we do, you name it. And then because this paper talks about both psychology and social media then of course I think it’s the most important thing out there to date. But it’s also the one session at NTEN that I was super upset to miss and so I’m really glad I got to read it. Let me tell you why.

We talked a bit about numbers and ROI and statistics already and maybe you’re thinking “but I need this data to sell my story and promote my nonprofit. No one is going to donate if I don’t give them the hard statistical data of my impact.” Well the trouble with that idea is that you’d be far more correct to say “No one is going to donate if I DO give them hard statistical data of my impact.” Yes, you read that right. While the research doesn’t actually say that no one will donate with data, far FAR fewer will donate than if you just left that junk out. How about them apples?

So what then do you use to get people to donate? The short of it is this:
-a story about ONE person and one person only
-the story does not include any statistics
-the story does not include information about anyone but that one person

That’s the gist of it. But you should really read this paper because there’s a lot more to it then just that and besides, you totally think I’m lying to you about that statistics stuff and the research is probably the only thing that will make you even consider that there’s truth to it.

Best yet this paper offers checklists of what to do in your marketing and fundraising efforts.

You’re also questioning that one story thing aren’t you? Surely we will donate more when there are millions of lives at stake. No, no we won’t. Why? Because right this second think about what millions of people look like, see all their faces, get a feel for what that would be like to stand beside them. You most likely can’t and you certainly can’t picture that many faces, not just this second. But if I tell you to think of a small child you know, their face, what it would be like to stand next to them you’ve got it, right this second. And that’s what it gets down to, we want to have the feeling we can help and to have that feeling it needs to speak to us in a way we understand. We feel powerless to help a million people, but that one little girl? I can definitely help her.

Interesting isn’t it? Logically I should want to save millions and so should you, but we are human and so instead of using numbers to appeal to robots and computers that crunch numbers rather than emotions, start using stories to appeal to humans who care more about emotions and being able to make a difference than we do about problems that we feel powerless to solve. It’s not that we have tiny little brains, it’s that we want to make a difference in a way we can understand and grasp.

Here’s the ebook. Let me know what you think.


About Jessica Dally

A random blog about travel, personal transformation, riding motorcycles solo, social media and whatever else seems interesting at the moment. View all posts by Jessica Dally

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