Made to stick

Six Steps to Make Your Communications Sticky

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How do you make sure that everything you write grabs the reader’s attention, engages them and makes something happen?

After all, there is no point writing stuff that doesn’t have the desired outcome.

Even if that outcome is to help a donor appreciate the love they spread through their gift. The lives they changed. The lives they could change.

Let me point you to a great resource: Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It is one of the best fundraising books ever – and it is not about fundraising.

In it, they talk about the Darth Vader Toothbrush. It is worth reading the book just for that. I am not going to tell you more on that, but you do need to know. It is a quickish read, and not full of marketing jargon or nonsense.

For ‘sticky’ communications the book gives us an amazingly apt acronym: SUCCES. Here it is…

  • Simple: find the core of any idea. You need to prioritize your ideas. Providing ten arguments to the public is doomed to fail because people will not be able to remember them all. Be a master of leaving things out and stick to the core of your fundraising message.
  • Unexpected: grab people’s attention by surprising them. You need to violate people’s expectations with counterintuitive surprise. Generate interest and curiosity.
  • Concrete: make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later. Explain in terms of human actions and use sensory information. Use concrete images and proverbs.
  • Credible: give an idea believability. Look for ways to help people test your ideas for themselves.
  • Emotional: help people see the importance of an idea. Let people feel something. Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region.
  • Stories: empower people to use an idea through narrative. Tell stories. Hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.

Made to Stick is highly recommended reading for smart fundraisers. It will boost your ability to write great marketing and fundraising copy.

It’s a quick read too!

Sean

Want to discover more ways to make your nonprofit communications sticky? Join The Fundraisingology Lab and get instant access to the Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits course! You’ll see great results immediately.

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