Can you repeat that please?
“Sorry I can’t remember”
“To be honest I get so many communications. They all merge into one”
“I just don’t have time to read most stuff”
“I might open an email but then I think – I will read it later but I don’t”
Houston, we have a problem.
All the above are real quotes from donors.
How many communications do you remember from yesterday or last week?
Question: When you communicate with supporters or prospects what do you want them to do? Answer: Remember the communication and take action.
So how can you engage donors and encourage them to respond?
Your best prospects are older. Your communication teams are often young. Do the young REALLY think about how to maximise recall from their readers, viewers and listeners? NO – they mainly relate to the way their eyes, ears and mouths receive information.
Did you know the average number of words spoken each day by each of us is 18,000 – how many are remembered?
The Real World of a 60+ year old
I hear you. Or do I?
Over 50% aged 65+ will have noticeable hearing loss. Result: we stop listening.
By the age of 70 we are likely to hear 70% less than a 20 yr old.
By our 80’s hearing loss is often 80%.
How long are your videos (a channel which brings most fundraising alive). In our experience two minutes is the maximum.
How long are your events and how much is remembered?
Often, we speak too fast. Young people can soak up 180 words a minute. Older people can only soak up 120 words a minute. Speak fast to an elderly group and they will switch off.
I know all of this because at 68 I have just got life changing hearing aids. I was NOT deaf but listening to the TV and to supporters in focus groups (let alone in fundraising training) I was struggling to hear questions let alone answers. I lost real engagement.
As an aside: why do hearing aids have a stigma? Sighting aids (glasses and contact lenses do NOT).
I see you. Or do I?
At the age of 60+ we only receive 1/3rd of the light into our eyes than we used to.
This results in huge eye strain. Result = we stop reading and viewing.
Do you realise that dark colours in print drain the energy from our eyes?
Do you realise reversed out print is a communication-stopper?
We are managing to exclude your best prospects all for the sake of design. “It looks good” does not mean it will be read or remembered.
Black typeface on white background is remembered because it is easier and less stressful on the eyes to read. But never use italics – they are harder to read!
But there is more! Did you know…..
When our eye power diminishes, glare increases. Glossy paper increases glare.
Serif typeface are less readable than a sans serif typeface.
Talk versus listen
Did you know: questions are more memorable/engaging than answers? To quote Harvard Business School research: “Questions encourage learning and liking”.
Do you want your supporters to learn and be given the feeling of being liked?
Why do we talk to prospects rather than ask them questions to find out what they know and what they don’t?
I have asked supporters around 800,000 questions in focus groups over the last 30+ years.
Fundraisers say – WOW you have talked to so many donors. No I haven’t. I have listened to them. Which is why those I meet become so engaged, feel valued and end up leaving a legacy.
Richard Radcliffe FCIoF Cert. Founder Radcliffe Consulting