Words, Words, Words

Eliza Doolittle, in the film My Fair Lady, sings a song of protest as she repeats her phonetics—“words, words, words.  Words all day.” Does it really matter how we pronounce them and the words we choose?  Apparently, she didn’t think so.

In the dead rush to raise much-needed funds for our charitable passions, we sometimes forget that the words we choose in reaching out to our supporters need to be chosen with them in mind.  There’s a unique fundraising idea.

Consider these two statements:

“We need $124,345.17 to meet our annual fund goal.   Give now so we can balance our budget.”


“We’re less than $125,000 from our annual fund goal of $1million.  Your gift will insure the availability of scholarships for our most deserving students.

Which would you most likely respond positively too?

The irony here is that the first statement was the one actually used in the appeal, even as the second was equally accurate.  Ouch!

Donors want to see outcomes, make a difference.  They’re almost never interested in meeting an internal budgeted number to give the program director or CFO that glowing feeling.

There’s the unique fundraising idea again.  Using words that donors want to hear.

The next time you’re shopping and you thank the clerk for your package, think about the difference between the ubiquitous response of “no problem” and the much more infrequent “it’s my pleasure.”

Which would you prefer to hear?

Principle 7 of The Eight Principles™ is Renew & Refresh.  We go a long way in renewing our best supporters by simply remembering their favorite words.

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