Sad Versus Happy Messaging: Which Works Best?

Sad Versus Happy Messaging: Which Works Best?

In fundraising materials, negative framing using sad images may be better suited to recruiting new donors, while positive framing might work better in building relationships with existing donors, according to Rogare, a fundraising think tank in the UK studying the issue.

In the first of six expected reports from an initiative that aims to “close the ideological gap” between fundraisers and service delivery teams on how to represent, or frame, charity beneficiaries in marketing materials, Rogare points out that fundraisers and service delivery staff often have opposing views and attitudes about how beneficiaries ought to be portrayed.

"Fundraisers tend to favour those images that they believe will maximize income," said Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin. "These images tend to show in quite stark context the plight and suffering of beneficiaries. Service delivery staff, and others at charities, tend to favour images that reflect more positive values about beneficiaries, maintaining their dignity and focusing on the solution to the problem."

Read more on the report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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