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10 building blocks for successful prize-led fundraising creative work
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2: Feeling good, while doing good!

How self-interest and altruism work together in prize-led fundraising

Would you like to…

..wake up in the city that never sleeps. To dress in the best Fifth Avenue has to offer, before strolling down to the Village to find that special little coffee shop that does the best breakfast in the world – sausage and pancakes and maple syrup and coffee and grape jelly and toast and butter.

Or, maybe your thing is jumping into a brand new car, clunking the door shut, inhaling that new car smell ­– razor-edged with petrol – and driving off down route 66 to travel, frame by frame, through the movie that has played in your head since you were a kid…

Or, perhaps you’d prefer…

…to reach out and take the hand of a dying child.

… to stop the suffering of a dog in agony who has known only kicks and cuts and pain.

… or fight for justice, a better planet or the future that you believe God intended.

Only human

The fact is you may want some, none, or all these things. But what is certain is that your personal hopes and dreams are likely to include both self-centred fantasies and more altruistic hopes for a better world. Let’s face it, you’re a nice person! The ‘selfish’ and the ‘altruistic’ can co-exist – maybe to different degrees in different people – but they are not mutually exclusive. And fulfilling both these types of aspirations can make us all feel good!

The best of both worlds

Good prize-led fundraising should harness both the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ factor and the more ‘altruistic’ to encourage people to give to charity – and to make people feel good about giving. This way, they are more likely to be generous – and to repeat the experience and give again in the future.

Licence to play

Our experience and research shows that for a more ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ audience, a simple reminder of the charity cause such as a photo and a caption can be enough to produce a warm glow – and a ‘licence to play’. Any guilt of wanting something for free is expunged by the act of giving – and there is a sense of freedom to have fun, together with the fulfilment of having done something worthwhile. The experience is a good one.

A fun way of giving

For others, feeling good about doing something altruistic can be the biggest single source of ‘pleasure’ in taking part. The game-winning element makes it different, it makes it fun and it makes it an additional way for a supporter to help a favourite cause – giving charities an incremental source of income. But it’s the knowing that others will benefit from their participation, which clinches it for the more altruistic. For this audience, our experience tells us that the cause content of the pack is much more important. An emotionally engaging case study, or explanation of how funds will be spent, will not only get them to respond, it can encourage them to be more generous in their giving as well.

Be happy

The better you know the audience, the better you can adjust the ‘charity cause’ volume in your communications. Whatever the balance, the results from campaign after campaign show that we should always make the ‘cause’ element positive and upbeat. Show happy people, not needy people. Talk about successes and happiness shared – not death rates and Armageddon predictions. In the prize-led fundraising arena, however serious the cause, people should always have fun and be left feeling good!