Less Can be More

Online appeals do not need to be as powerful as those made through more traditional media such as DRTV and direct mail, a report into how websites build relationships with donors suggests.

The research – into eight “constructs”, by a team led by Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay at the University of the West of England (UWE) – shows that there is hardly any connection between having the case for support on a website and the number of new donors recruited through that site or how much they give. In fact, “case for support” was negatively correlated with the total amount raised in the previous year, meaning that scoring highly in this construct also meant less money raised.

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  1. One of the recurring refrains in the ACS is that people “don’t know what we do.” The implication is that if people knew more they’d give more. In the absence of any solid data I can recall that supports that premise, I’ve always maintained that the ambiguity surrounding what we do probably works in our favor. I suspect we are credited with doing more than we do in many cases and in some cases blamed for things we didn’t do. Let people imagine that we actually operate cancer research laboratories and treatment hospitals as I’ve been asked many times by people. When you have “American” and “ Cancer” in your brand and your colors are red, white, and blue, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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