Turn a donor into a loyalist

There are all manner of ways to turn a prospect into a donor. And many of them work really well.

But there is one very rare method that can turn a prospect into a lifelong loyalist.

In a sense, I suppose this method is a type of traditional marketing, but when combined with a classy and subtle charitable appeal… it can transcend.

I’m talking about the lifestyle appeal.

A lifestyle promotion in traditional marketing is one that appeals to a prospects desire to change their life.

This is enormously powerful, because whether we consciously know it or not, we all want to change our lives. It’s what makes the human psyche so so malleable and our lives interesting.

There probably isn’t a single one of us that doesn’t want a better life in some way. We want to be smarter, richer, sexier, have better relationships, more free time, more power, more flexibility…

Change a Mind, Change a Life

The lifestyle promotion is rarely used in fundraising. After all, fundraisers are usually trying to change the lives of the people or places they are fundraising for.

But what if you could elegantly and effectively tap into that desire for a better life…for your donor?

My work mainly centers around environmental and green organizations, which are perfectly poised to try a lifestyle appeal.

Our lives are becoming increasingly hazardous from negative environmental impacts, no matter where you live.

Climate change, plastic microbeads infesting everything from our toothpaste to our food, mudslides, air pollution, overpopulation, floods, drought… the list could go on.

If you can somehow convince a donor that by giving to your organization their life will be changed for the better, not only will you be seeing increased donations, you’ll also hook very loyal donors.

Powerful, but treacherous

A word of caution on attempting the lifestyle promotion for a fundraiser.

If overdone, or done poorly, donors will see right through you. “Donate today and the environment, and your life, will miraculously be better!” just isn’t going to cut it.

Like everything else about fundraising in this modern era, it’s not likely you’ll make a donor believe that their lives will be changed by one interaction or appeal.

Take the long term approach. Focus on turning a lead or prospect into a supporter, and a supporter into a donor, and then the icing on the cake… a donor into a brand-loyalist.

Show a Better Life

Usually I like to give a lot of great examples for ideas like this. You can see some of my other posts for good tips on environmental and nonprofit marketing.

But to give you good examples from successful nonprofit lifestyle appeals would be risky.

Every nonprofit or environmental organization will have to come up with this particular appeal on your own. And, every successful lifestyle I’ve seen in environmental fundraising walks a very tight line. To give examples here wouldn’t demonstrate their full power.

I do hate to leave my readers empty handed… So, here are three general guidelines for outlining your lifestyle fundraising appeal:

  1. Show success. Specifically where your programs have changed lives of either the recipients of your organization, but if you can, of how other donor’s lives have changed.
  2. Let others tell it for you. Give testimonials by other donors or volunteers. The more you tell a donor how great you are, the less they’ll believe you. It’s way more powerful in the words of other supporters.
  3. Show the dark side. I’m not usually a fan of this, but it works here to demonstrate what will happen to a donors life if they don’t support your organization. Have some people on your list who don’t believe climate change will affect them? Show them just how it will, in very negative terms.

Lifestyle promotions have a unique ability to turn one-time buyers (or, in this case, donors) into brand loyalists.

If you can show me in clear, compelling terms how my interactions with you will make my life better, you’ll have my interest.

And better yet, when I do shell out my cash and my life IS changed for the better… I’m tied to you for life.


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