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Monday, January 22, 2018

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Proposed: A new set of messages for nonprofits
Tom Ahern

July, 2013

I was listening to a senior expert explain "fundraising 101" to a bunch of novice organizations.


She paused at the very end and suddenly thought of one more thing to say: "Tonight you heard me talk about emotional triggers and other 'tricks' of the marketing trade. And maybe you're thinking, 'I don't want to manipulate anyone into giving.'


"Well," she smiled in her warm way, "don't worry! It's not manipulation. You'rejust plugging into people's own values and emotions. They are predisposed to give. All you're doing is putting in front of them a ripe opportunity to express that predisposition."


And I'm thinking, What's wrong with manipulation? I think manipulation is great. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done! Isn't even the humble paycheck a form of manipulation? 


True: most messages never come close to manipulating anyone. And that goes triple for the lame-ass advertising that nonprofits almost universally ooze (top-shelf direct mail being the shining exception).


And then there's Mad Men


I mean, just look at all the incredible advances that manipulation has already brought to Western society.


We obsess over our breath, our odor, our teeth, our weight, our age, our status, our hipness, our connectedness, our relevance, our happiness.


Proposed, then ...


... in honor of manipulation's keen ability, in competent hands, to significantly shift social norms ...


... a new set of ad messages for the nonprofit sector:


You will never find love

if you don't give to charity


Your breath stays fresh

when you give to charity


The good people

give to charity


"I never really noticed her  

... until she gave to charity."


You're smarter 

when you give to charity


Are you man enough

to give to charity?


Generosity is the kind of beauty
only charity can buy



Unwanted facial hair's a thing of the past

when you give to charity  




  P.S. - This is not a joke. -- tom 


Check out this imaginative man at


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