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GIF of Spock saying,

Your donors have a heart. Don't lose them with logic.

If you've ever seen Star Trek, I'm guessing you love Spock.

Spock is like a cartoon character, amusingly one-dimensional, revealing a key aspect of humanity — the importance of logic.

Plus, you gotta love those pointy ears.

GIF of Spock from Star Trek saying, "Precisely."

But think about it, Spock is half Vulcan, half human. If he were to try to do good fundraising writing for humans, and if he stuck to his logical guns in the process, his response rate would be precisely abysmal.

In fundraising, leading with logic is akin to reading a dictionary from a podium. 😴 Your donors are human. They won't listen long if they're not feeling something.


Your donors have a heart. Don't lose them with logic.

Fundraising should be a conversation.

You need to sound human.

I hope you would not greet an old friend with something like: "For 51 years, I have worked hard to earn a reputation of honesty and integrity. In fact, my aunt recently told me, 'Julie, you are just the sweetest thing.' And for Mother's Day, one of my four sons gave me a World's Greatest Mom coffee mug. That amounts to a 25% success rate. As you can plainly see, you chose well when you selected me to be your dear friend. So would you kindly consider renewing your commitment to our companionship by going out for coffee with me on Tuesday of next week?"

Um, no. Don't.

Your donors are like your old friends. They deserve better.

Be friendly. Sound like a real person. Tell an interesting story. Start with something from the heart.

Aristotle called this pathos. It means anything involving emotion or heart. ❤️ Pathos is conversational. It's what you should lead with and sprinkle throughout your donor comms.

Aristotle also spoke of logos and ethos.

Ethos invokes credibility. 🏆 Like when you echo your aunt's glowing words about you. Or when you talk about that wonderful gift your son gave you to honor your most excellent parenting skills.

Logos refers to facts, figures, and information. 🧠 Like when you cite how many years you've devoted to being full of honesty and integrity. Or when you mention your astounding parenting success rate.

People who work or volunteer at a nonprofit often fall into a quagmire of logos or ethos. They fail to lead with heart. They do not sound conversational. Or human.

I have a theory as to why...

People really really do not like asking for money.

They feel icky, like a door-to-door salesperson. They feel they must constantly prove themselves to be worthy of any donation. So they adopt an impersonal, corporate voice.

But I submit to you that this is backwards.

Human voice > corporate voice.

Donors want to donate to help solve an important problem. They do not need to be convinced about YOU. They need to be convinced about the PROBLEM.

You can do this by helping your donors feel the need (in an appeal) feel the impact (in a newsletter or annual report) and feel the gratitude you have for them (in a thank-you).

Save your inner Spock for resumes and job interviews.

For fundraising, channel Kirk. Where Spock leads with logic, Kirk leads with passion.


It's why he's the captain. 💛

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