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Loving and Punning on Valentines Day

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I got this lovely email from World Animal Protection (WAP).

It worked on me.  BUT generally, humour is risky in charity direct marketing.

I think this is for a few reasons:

  • Not everyone gets the joke!
  • Making light of your serious cause needs to be considered carefully: brand implications, offending the people you are trying to help
  • What you think is funny, often isn’t
  • Humour and laughing are not the emotional reactions known to encourage people to give.  A letter that makes someone cry is much more likely to elicit a reaction. Unfortunately, we charities have a lot of case studies that do that – including WAP.

I do think WAP will do well out of this. Clear offer, and nice ask and they likely know their donors.

Here is the intro…

Loving and Punning on Valentines Day 1

And the puns / offer…

Loving and Punning on Valentines Day 2 updated

Want to really master the art of nonprofit communications? Check out Jeff’s 4-session masterclass, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits that’s available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab.


  • Sean Triner

    Sean Triner is a Co-Founder of Moceanic and Pareto Group. With over three decades of experience in fundraising and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in mathematics, Sean has a wealth of fundraising expertise to share with Moceanic members and blog readers. He is also a coach and available for bookings on the Coaching+ program for fundraisers to help answer your questions and work hands-on directly with you.

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  • Saying hello from North Carolina, USA

    I work for an senior day care. Some of our clients have joined our program so they are not alone everyday. Most have dementia or other type of impairment. So yes, I am trying to write their stories from a heartfelt place, a way to connect with our donors. For example, Harry, he was at D-Day on the LST 494 or Buddy who was stationed with Elvis. One of our younger members has a brain disease and her 80+ year old mother is caring for her full time. Or my own mom, now 96, who was driving until she was 92, very independent, but several falls brought on dementia, I had to stop my life to move her here to take care of her. Most of them have great often sad, stories.

    On the other hand, we are using some humor to promote a big St. Pat’s event. We’re going to do a fun video of our seniors singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and the director hamming it up to build interest to sell tickets. Once we get them there, I’ll pull at their heart strings for more donations…. at least that’s the plan 🙂

    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you! You’re helping seniors on the other side of the world and didn’t even know it.

    Joni Stone, Statesville, NC, USA
    ElderCenter Ambassador
    Marketing & Communications

    PS I want you to know that your information is really helpful for us small nonprofits as well. I intend that some day we can afford to hire you for assistance but until then I’m really grateful for these emails and blogs and other info. I know it increased our donations for our annual dinner.


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