Suppose you heard these statements in a pitch to support your local public radio or television station. Which would motivate you to give?
Statement 1: “Thanks to our community’s continuous annual membership support, XXX Radio has the financial resources needed to be there for you, me, and our neighbors each and every day.”
Statement 2: “Thanks to your continuous annual membership support, XXX Radio has the financial resources needed to be there for you each and every day.”
The first statement is a collective appeal: Give because it’s good for the community. The second statement is an individual appeal: Give because it’s good for you. If you listen closely to the wording of a fundraiser’s pitch, you can detect which strategy is at play.
Which is more effective: a collective or an individual appeal?
My colleagues Shirli Kopelman and Jen Shang wanted to find out, so they collaborated with a radio station and wrote two versions of a fundraising letter. The first version included a collective appeal (like Statement 1). The second version included an individual appeal (like Statement 2).
They found that men in particular would respond differently to these statements, and that it depended on their mood. Men in a positive mood gave more money if they got the letter with the collective appeal. But those in a neutral mood gave more money when they read an individual appeal.
What do you think of these findings?
How does your mood influence your decision to give?
Please, “Comment” below.