Good fundraising is about more than just showing need
I've found a short film of a story that's often attributed to David Ogilvy.
David was on his way to work and he saw a blind man sitting on the pavement with a sign that said…
I am blind.
Beneath the sign was a hat with a few coins in it.
David stopped. He picked up the sign, wrote a few additional words and went off to work. Later that day he walked past the blind man again and saw a stream of people dropping coins into the hat.
The words David added were….
and it is spring.
I'm not sure whether the story is true, but it serves to illustrate an important point. The first sign simply presented a fact, whereas the amended sign did something much more powerful.
It reminded people of the joy of sight. Of seeing flowers bloom, trees in leaf and people enjoying the warm weather (perhaps wearing slightly less than they would normally do).
In doing so, the relationship between the blind man and each passer-by was changed. Instead of asking for pity, the new sign offered readers the chance to give in thanks for what they took for granted. It reminded them of how rich they actually were.
And that's the important point.
You'll never raise much money just by making people feel sorry.
What really counts is building connection.