For decades, the fundraising community has accepted the notion that the act of giving is an emotional behavior. Without doubt, there is solid scientific ground on which to build this foundational belief.
Fundraising campaigns are built around this assumption: “We have a serious problem we are trying to solve, and we believe we can move you to help us to solve it.”
And often the persuasion behind that emotional urge to give — the argument for giving to a specific organization, for instance — contains a very rational assumption: “Your gift to us represents your best investment for finding a solution.”
This duality inspires endless argument. What approach should we take when we speak to our donors in this campaign? Emotional or Rational? How much of each?
Accepting this notion at face value, however, is risky.
The Fundamental Error
Strategic fundraising campaigns run on the rails of an offer, driven by a singular case for giving. Often, fundraisers use the emotional/rational yardstick to create the messaging and positioning around the offer. But differentiating fundraising offers as emotional versus rational suggests that they exist in opposition to each other.
This, of course, is fundamentally illogical.
The opposite of emotional is unemotional. The opposite of rational is irrational.