Effective fundraising

There’s a commercial featuring an older guy in a third-world country. It’s a long commercial, and he spends the entire time essentially laying a guilt trip on viewers for not giving money to the cause. But I don’t know what the cause is, because every time the commercial comes on, I change the channel.

As bad as that sounds, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who does it. Guilt has never been an effective motivator, and I question the wisdom of those who created the advertisement.

Truth is, there’s no good way to advertise this sort of thing. Or is there?

There’s a United Way commercial that shows a guy pushing a cart through a warehouse while the announcer talks. Suddenly it morphs to the same guy pushing a shopping cart down an alley, and then back to the warehouse, with the United Way slogan: “Without U, there is no Way.” It’s a simple, powerful, and moving message. If I didn’t already donate to United Way, I probably would based on that commercial.

I don’t mean to sound harsh against the other cause…it’s not easy to send a positive message when you’re talking about starving children. But you’d think that someone along the line of approvals would have wondered aloud how effective this advertisement would be.

And hey, I’m sure that there are people who are moved by it and pick up the phone to donate. Maybe I’m in the minority. I really hope that I am.