Charity Marketing Fail – Why I Don't Open Appeal Mailshots

I donate to lots of charities, and that means I get plenty of charity mailshots. The thing is, I can’t bear to open them just in case there’s a terrible story inside, so I throw them away unread.

While it’s good to keep in touch with donors, I think charities should ask people what kind of marketing materials they’re happy to receive: happy, sad, or both.

My problem is this. If I read a tragic story it sticks in my head for a very long time. The same goes if I see a sad image. It’s with me for weeks, months, sometimes years.

I donate to animal, wildlife and environmental charities, so the images and stories I’m sent in the guise of appeals often portray animals in distress, something I really can’t bear to have running in my head like a movie for weeks on end.

Call me overly-sensitive if you like, but it’s something I can’t help. The kind of appeals I respond to involve good news, showing how my donations have been spent to make life better for the creatures I’m supporting, the initiatives I’m funding, and the campaigns I’m interested in.

I can’t think of a single charity that has actually asked me what kind of appeals and communications I’d like to receive, or acknowledged that different people respond to different messages.

Come on, charity marketing people. Start asking important questions, then get segmenting and targeting!

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