His talk at the Humanism at Work conference last weekend was all about keeping it simple (aka KISS). This is the most effective way of using media to communicate a need and to successfully show them what they can do to help.
The presentation was just 30 minutes long, but in a flash of inspiration, it opened my eyes about what I was doing wrong in my own fundraising efforts up to this point. Keep it simple. It's the idea of having an...
"... aligned non-threatening dollar amount with a specific goal..."
Large, vague dollar amounts shown in progress meters are daunting to the average giver. Imagine yourself going to a website that has a $35,000 goal with just $15 contributed so far. The project goal is lofty -- Build a School In Uganda! -- and the quip on the page 'Every little bit helps' does little to dissuade your concerns that your little piddly donation is not even close to being significant at all. That was my last fundraiser.
"Every little bit helps... What does he mean by 'a little bit?'"David gave one of his own stories. He did all the complex research to figure out how to best help seniors at a long-term care facility who were cut off from two meals a day due to the Republican-caused government shutdown last year. After days of research, he boiled the details down to a simple message for his potential donors: $2.50 feeds a senior citizen for seven days. That's the message. Now how much can you help? One of his co-hosts put it brilliantly.
"That's crazy. None of this know this. And so, if more people knew it. I'd be like 'Ah, I guess I'll not buy that Starbucks today and feed six people."With simplicity, Dogma Debate raised enough to feed the seniors for the whole year and even had enough money left over to purchase a freezer for the seniors facility.
It might seem obvious, but this was a bit of a revelation for me. Yes, you need to communicate the need in the simplest way possible, but many people are already painfully aware of so much need everywhere. The true key here is give people easy to understand opportunities to make a tangible difference.
Thanks to David's presentation, I will change my strategy. My new goal is to build a sort of web-based marketplace where people can go and actually buy individual chickens for the coop, feed bags, bricks for the new classroom construction, new uniforms, tuition for a year for a child, etc. Large projects are achieved by breaking them up into small achievable goals that help to build people's enthusiasm and momentum. I'll likely start with a WordPress theme but if anyone has any suggestions about how to do this, please chip in!
A big thank you to David Smalley for what he does and his inspirational talk at Humanism at Work!