Coaxing charitable donations out of people is sometimes like swimming against the tide. An infinite amount of charities are all vying for a finite amount of attention on offer. There’s a lot of noise out there when it comes to general marketing information and gaining somebody’s attention well enough to promote a selfless act is even harder than selling a product.
In their heart of hearts, however, nobody wants to see unfortunate people suffer. There is good in everybody and if you can touch that sympathetic nerve, you know you’re onto a winner. But grabbing a person’s attention is crucial to this. If you don’t grab their attention and stand out from the noise, you won’t be able to achieve anything.
That’s why the first step in learning how to design a leaflet which draws bigger donations is to grab the receiver’s attention. Everything else is secondary. But we’ll also look at those secondary tips so that in just four steps you can have a leaflet which helps drive more donations:
- Grab The Leaflet Holder’s Attention
- Make Sure Your Message Rewards Their Interest
- Provide The Chance To Give A Small Commitment
- Make Sure The Leaflet Is Just The First Step Into A Donation Ecosystem
1 - Grab The Leaflet Holder’s Attention
As said before, there’s lots of noise out there and lots of companies are fighting for attention. This makes it doubly hard for charities to be heard. When it comes to getting attention, be bold and use strong, confident designs alongside powerful copy.
Design needs to consider not just the colour and layout but also the feeling in the hand. A cheap, throwaway piece of paper will end up straight in the bin. Take the time to make sure your design efforts are instantly noticed and people will pay more attention.
Don’t be afraid of playing around with negative angles, close to the bone rhetorical questions or (our favourite) something completely left-field.
A negative angle could work by communicating the message, “We won’t be asking for any more donations, because we can see you aren’t interested. The problem isn’t solved, but we need to get to work solving it not just asking for donations.” Don’t be afraid to be blunt; you’re losing nothing.
Whereas going completely left-field could work by appealing to the reader’s sense of fun and intrigue by their second reaction being, “Wait, this leaflet is from a charity?! Nice!” You could do this by offering an obviously fabricated image, a riddle, a joke, taboo language… absolutely anything other than the traditional message of “Here’s a saddening problem. Hopefully you feel rubbish enough about it in order to donate here.”
When it comes to copy on your leaflet, the golden rule is 'less is more.' When you think you're happy with it, edit it down again. And again.
2 - Make Sure Your Message Rewards Their Interest
Now that you have the reader’s attention, the two-to-three seconds they’ve invested in reading your leaflet needs to be suitably rewarded.
If you go with the humour angle, make sure the punchline is worth their effort and attention. If you’ve made them laugh, or at least raised half a smile, they will be more receptive to your core message.
Sticking with the humour example, don’t immediately switch to a sombre, run-of-the-mill charity message. This switch-up will leave the reader feeling duped and unlikely to donate. Carry on the good vibes and lead the reader to follow you on social media or visit your special website for more interesting facts, funny jokes or cartoons.
Or simply leave them so intrigued they can’t help but take a look at that mysterious hashtag or URL, which promises the answer to your frustrating riddle, on the bottom of your leaflet.
Playing along via the hashtag is irrestible for those with an inquisitive mind. And these are the kind of people more likely to be susceptible to your later marketing efforts.
3 - Provide The Chance To Give A Small Commitment
Because logging onto a website or visiting a hashtag on Twitter is an equal commitment in return for entertaining the reader via an unsolicited leaflet. If you’re expecting a leaflet alone to drive donations that might be why you are struggling.
Sure, the odd person might just happen to have enough spare cash in their bank account to go online and donate to your cause off the back of reading a leaflet waiting on the doormat or handed to them on the high street. But that vast majority will not.
Ask for a like or follow on social media. Invite users to take part in a one question survey. Ask for their favourite riddles or funny questions on a hashtag.
Anything like this small engagement is a much better expectation from a leaflet campaign rather than expecting a donation. It’s then up to your wider efforts to make sure the follow/like/participation on social media is just the first step.
4 - Make Sure The Leaflet Is Just The First Step Into A Donation Ecosystem
The above mobile experience can be sent out to people playing along via the hashtag included on the preceding leaflet.
Then, once the reader has decided to take part in your online game, quiz or whatever your fun or interesting angle is, you can start drip feeding in the wider message of why you’re entertaining them for free.
If somebody has been happy to play along with your game, been entertained by your cartoons or has wow-ed somebody with your interesting fact that they can use down the pub this weekend, they’d have to be pretty cold-hearted to not at least listen to your serious message.
That’s because, deep down, nobody wants to see others who are less fortunate suffer needlessly. Be it families in their area who rely on food banks, people who have hit hard times and find themselves homeless or an animal facing extinction - a person is more likely to donate once they are in debt to you for providing them with some form of attention holding entertainment.
The lesson to take away from all of this is that viewers and readers are saturated by conventional advertising. They tune out, sadly, to repetitive adverts which present the plight of an unfortunate soul and ask for them to help by “donating just £x per month”. It’s time to do something different.
In this social media age, a well produced and thought provoking leaflet could be just what you need to stand out from the crowd. Weigh up what kind of leaflets could be right for your and your budget and see what your wide option of printed materials really are.