Emotional Hot Buttons to Use When You are Writing Your Appeals

I am reading my favorite blog today, the Agitator. The authors Roger Craver and Tom are “direct response” guru’s (remember it used to be called “direct mail?” Now it’s much more sophisticated direct response.)

help button red photoThey are citing an article by Denny Hatch about the best way to write “marketing copy.” That’s the technical term for the wording we use when we write appeals, brochures, email broadcasts and our fundraising materials.

Denny is apparently an old pro at marketing and copywriting. He says that we need to be sure to do the following things:

1. Set a deadline that will create urgency. By WHEN do we need to hear from you? Now we all know that you really have a terrible time raising money if you don’t have some sort of deadline.

You have to give people a reason for acting NOW. Write that check NOW. Put it in the mail NOW. Because we have to act quickly … (you know how to complete this sentence, right?)

2. But choose your deadline carefully. If you leave it out too long in the future, the  need to act now dissipates. But if it is too close, you are at the mercy of mailing schedules that might go wrong and ruin everything.

3. Use emotional hot buttons. If you appeal to these powerful, motivating emotions, you’ll have the most success. These hot buttons are called “key copy drivers” — because they are so powerful they can change behavior.

When you insert them into your effort, the more powerful your argument. Those copy drivers are: fear – greed – guilt – anger – exclusivity – salvation – flattery.

So how do you flatter your donors?

Tell them how smart and wonderful they are and how they’re so helpful, kind and caring.

I’ve seen lots of fundraising material that appealed to anger and guilt. Haven’t you?  Not so sure about using greed or fear here.

But don’t forget that it is POWERFUL emotions that will get attention and create action – and funds to help your cause.