Reuben Turner, Creative Director at Good Agency explains that fundraisers need to provide their supporters with a reason to give, by giving first themselves.
Reciprocity. It’s a key tenet of online behaviour. Put out a blog, and maybe people will comment and share. Write someone a positive review on LinkedIn, and maybe they’ll do the same for you. Like a stranger’s photo on Instagram and maybe they’ll like yours. Give a positive rating on TripAdvisor, Uber or AirBnB and hope that the good online karma comes back.
So how come fundraisers feel like they don’t have to play by digital’s rules?
When we’re playing in the digital space we’re playing on neutral territory. We’re operating in a world that’s people-shaped, not organisation-shaped.
That means we have to think like people not organisations. Why was Find Mike such a powerful campaign for Rethink? How was Stephen Sutton, an ordinary young man with terminal cancer, able to raise so much for Teenage Cancer Trust? It’s because these moments were led by real people, and as such they instinctively embraced the very human principle of reciprocity.
In particular, Find Mike brought to life our natural desire to ‘pay back’ the people who have done us good. To not leave reciprocity unsatisfied. To put balance back into the universe.
For many charities, that very important principle been reduced to offering a booklet or guide in return for data or a donation. That’s a very reductive version of the reciprocity principle – a tactic that, like all tactics, won’t last for long.
Instead, and especially online, we should explore ways to be truly generous. Whether it’s sharing a story, delivering amazing experiences, or helping people enhance that strange online version of ourselves we spend so much time on these days.
Love. Kindness. Compassion. Connection. That’s what we all seek. Reciprocity can help us find it. But only if we give first.
For further reading on this subject, please see Reuben’s blog “Digital should be a why, not a how” on Third Sector here.