Supper See 'n Say

Jul 20, 2022

It’s a game. We play it every night. We don’t like it. But we play it. You likely play it, too. “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” It’s been a long day and we enter into this volley of indecision. That’s when hanger sets in and why people end up eating unofficial charcuterie meals handful by handful as they scavenge the fridge and the pantry. Clearly, we’re hungry. Apparently, we’re also indecisive.

My husband and I played this game for way too long—neither of us wanting to make a decision after a long day’s work. I got slightly over the hump of this maddening dance one season of our lives when I began asking, “What don’t you want for dinner?” My husband rarely had an answer but when he did, he’d say, “Nothing red.” At least it narrowed it down and then, when I did choose, he couldn’t complain.

When our kids grew up and moved out, it was just dinner for two. So, we could move beyond chicken nuggets and a DiGiorno’s pizza topped with a Totino’s pizza. I’m not kidding, we once had a pizza topped with a pizza. But at least I didn’t have to decide what was for dinner that night—so, I counted it as a win!

Now we could grab a table for two and enjoy dining out more...with cloth napkins and salads that always taste better at a restaurant than they do at home, although I’ll never understand why that is. Alas, even when dining out, the same problem persisted. “Where do you want to go eat?” “I don’t know, where do you want to go eat?” Ugh! It was equally frustrating. Then I had a genius idea. Ok, I had an idea—maybe not so genius, but an idea, nonetheless. A few quick clicks on the Amazon website and a little help from my nieces and my idea was born.

May I introduce to you the Supper See ‘n Say! It’s your average run of the mill See ‘n Say, just like you had when you were a kid. The one I ordered does happen to make farm animal sounds, but that’s not important to this dating and dining game. When it's been one of those days where we’re both dog tired and don’t have the energy to cook, going out to eat is a great option. But where? Choosing is half the battle! But not anymore! Not if you own the Supper See ‘n Say! This dining decision-maker is activated simply by pulling the string. Round and round it goes, where it stops is where you will go!

Oddly enough, fundraisers and philanthropists struggle with this same sort of decision-making paralysis when it comes to your charitable organization. We spend so much time trying to prove ourselves (by making a case that makes sense to us) that we forget to improve ourselves (by making a case that makes sense to them). But there’s hope!

This week’s blog is all about the left brain marketing methods that will get your donors to act and the right brain marketing moxie that you might be employing incorrectly that could prevent your donors from acting at all.

Left Brain Marketing Methods: The left brain tends to dwell on the barriers to giving. We can easily list all the reasons a donor might not want to part with their discretionary dollars. Left brainers are terrific at making lists! Yet, flipping the script to highlight the benefits of giving just might change the outcome and delight your donors.

Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  There is legitimately so much scientific data marrying the act of giving with happiness. This is where joy comes in! Even when your marketing cause is serious, the act of giving is joyous. And you’re in the joy business. Let’s learn how to infuse more delight into your direct mail.

Ready to get into it? Welcome to the smart zone—population you!

Left Brain Marketing Methods: In Zoe Chance’s Book, Influence is Your Superpower, she makes a beautiful point about people who ask for things—anything—a favor, a raise, a donation, etc. She says that the askers tend to dwell on “all the ways that saying yes could make the other person’s life more difficult.” We get in this rut by outlining in our heads all the reasons they could say no to us. What kind of scarcity mentality is that? Instead, she says we need to flip the script and concentrate on the potential benefits. Chance says this works because “the recipients of our request, however, tend to focus on how hard it is to say no.”

In essence, that’s what we did with our Supper See ‘n Say. Struggling with the analysis paralysis of making a decision when we were tirate and hangry was fruitless. With the thought of cooking at home, were dreading the preparation, mess, and dishes—all the negatives. When we removed the negatives and made a wheel with all the positive options that we loved—in this case our favorite restaurants—it was easy to choose!

The same will happen with donors. Pointing out the negatives can lead them to indecision and that’s not stampworthy. Instead, use your left brain to outline all the ah-mazing reasons they should give to you, then wait for that stamp to turn into a gift.

Right Brain Marketing Moxie:  You’re in the fundraising business, so you’re likely familiar with the Helper’s High. A Helper’s High is the title given to that dopamine hit that people get with they partake in the act of generosity and it stimulates the brain’s reward center. You know that feeling! You love that feeling! Helping others feels terrific. In fact, neuroscientists have proven that the dopamine rush that comes with giving makes people healthier and happier. Yes, friend, generosity and happiness are linked!

All this to say that you can’t ignore the benefits of generosity—that would be pretty selfish. Chance boldly and brilliant states, “If you’re holding back from asking because you want to be liked, consider that you’re not giving other people the chance to feel good about saying yes to you.”  Boom-shaka-laka! That’s a flipping game-changer.

You don’t want to take joy away from anyone, do you? Then, don’t delete delight from your donors! The world needs more joy. That means you must make a direct ask. Sometimes our right brain is working so hard to be creative and attention-getting that our ask comes across more like a hint. Chance says this often happens due to power dynamics, gender, culture, or even the industry that you’re in. But caving to this creative hinting vs. a direct ask is a recipe for failure. There is a better way.

Yes, you can (and should) be creative and direct. After all, if you’re too direct you’ll come across as bossy, pushy, or even rude. That’s why the creative part of it is critical. But if you’re too creative and the ask is hidden in your cleverness then your effort might be appreciated but your need will go unnoticed. They can’t read your mind! Ask a direct question, get a direct answer—it’s as simple as that. Moral of the story:  Be delightfully direct in your direct mail because more donors want to say yes to you than you think.

Albeit few, there were days before the Supper See ‘n Say that someone in our family made a direct request for pizza or pasta or tacos. Those were good nights. Someone made a direct request and the decision for the evening meal became an easy one. You can do that for your donors and they’ll thank you. Of course, you could always resort to making them a Donation See ‘n Say that has all the options for how they could give to you. It might be a bit expensive but at least your donor would know exactly how to help you. Just think how good you’ll feel knowing that your direct request will give your donors a hit of dopamine by giving them explicit reasons to say yes to you. I’d even go as far as saying that it feels even better than not having to play the ‘what’s for dinner’ game. It’s worth a try!

All My Best,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc.

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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