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The Loyalty Letter

E-news that helps you keep donors connected (and giving)
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August 2012
Published by Lisa Sargent

Welcome, Nonprofit Professionals:

Tom Ahern and I are on the same wavelength with freakish regularity. Truth be told, the guy is my hero. So it didn't surprise me when I opened his latest e-Exclusive and read:

"We now know for sure that sad images definitely out-raise happy images, in a head to head comparison of response. That was figured out in the psychology lab. So those people who preach, 'We don't want to go negative with our donors....'? They are simply wrong. Science says so."

And so, after some jockeying around, an article slated for later this year, "Why Feel-Good Photos Fail: How to Use More Effective Images in Your Fundraising" was moved to now.

Click on the link above to read the article, includes samples. (For a taste, read the intro below.)

Tom, this one's for you. Thanks for all you do for our noble profession.

And thanks to you, too, my wonderful readers. Small as The Loyalty Letter is, I like to believe that through you, it helps accomplish mighty things.

Your ally in donor communications,

Lisa Sargent
Sargent Communications

Why Feel-Good Photos Fail: How to Use More Effective Photos in Your Fundraising Appeals

Why do "Feel-Good Photos" fail in fundraising? Chalk it up to improper use of emotional contagion. Two examples illustrate how you can make the right choice...

Among US nonprofits, the overwhelming trend for years now has been to use what I call "Feel-Good Photos." Happy, healthy kids. Fat, fluffy puppies.

Trust me, I've seen puh-lenty. In my office is something called The Vault: four banker's boxes of direct mail appeals and an 8,000-plus-email Inbox of fundraising samples for every season and reason. (Like Jeff Brooks and Uncle Maynard's Treasure Trove.)

But happy images can send the wrong message.

As studies and science prove (see Jeff B. again and Stanford's Center for Social Innovation), a phenomenon known as "emotional contagion" makes sad images more effective at stirring donor sympathy.

Now that you know this little secret, let's open The Vault and look at two appeals, from Mercy Corps and U.S. Fund for Unicef... click here for samples and full article.

P.S. Subscribing to The Loyalty Letter is easy:
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And lastly, if ever you have a question on donor communications,
send it along to The Loyalty Letter. All you have to do is:

Email me.

Or call: +001 (860) 881-7009.

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Ahern's e-News:

If you don't subscribe to Tom Ahern's e-mail newsletter already, you should. It's required reading for anyone who wants to raise more money through better donor communications.

Click here to get there.



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