Copywriter to "Clone Wars" Critics: "Flawed, Your Premise Is" -- Lucas' Example Teaches Fundraisers How To Avoid "The Dark Side"

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Fundraising copywriter Karen Zapp says negative reviews of latest "Star Wars" movie are based on a flawed assumption. Many organizations base their fundraising on a similar flawed assumption -- much to their detriment.

who always give; people who have donated in the past, but not recently; donors at various giving levels; people who are interested in different aspects of your mission; prospects versus house file donors; and so on.

In the two weeks since its premiere, reviews of the latest theatrical "Star Wars" production have been rolling in. And generally speaking, the news isn't good. Critics of "The Clone Wars" have found fault with everything -- story, dialog, characters, and especially the jerky, angular style of animation. The general consensus is that George Lucas has lost his touch and (gasp!) should give up on "Star Wars".

But fundraising copywriter Karen Zapp says those reviewers are completely missing the point. "The first six Star Wars movies were directed to teenagers and adults -- devotees of the science fiction genre. But this movie is targeted to cartoon-watching younger children. That's a completely different audience. And if you look at the Saturday morning cartoons of today, I'd say Mr. Lucas is right on the mark."

Zapp says this illustrates a key point in the fundraising industry. "A significant number of organizations -- oftentimes they're smaller nonprofits -- mistakenly assume everyone they mail to is a single target audience. But there are always distinct groups: "rabid fans" who always give; people who have donated in the past, but not recently; donors at various giving levels; people who are interested in different aspects of your mission; prospects versus house file donors; and so on."

The problem arises when nonprofit organizations try to "clone" the same letter or email to communicate with their entire list. "Each donor grouping has its own separate, unique desires and concerns," Zapp explains. "True, some 'cloning' is possible. But results jump when specific messages are crafted to resonate with each group. This is so very critical -- it makes the difference in whether your letter ends up next to the checkbook or in the waste basket."

But what if you don't have a George Lucas-sized marketing budget? The answer, Zapp says, is test, test, test. "Send a test letter to a small portion of your database, and track the results. Keep testing and tracking until you find the combinations that work the best."

These days people are very selective in where they send their donations. To avoid "The Dark Side" of fundraising your message must resonate with donors. Sending a good message to the wrong target audience is like an adult watching a kid's movie: an annoying experience that's forgotten as soon as it's over.

Karen Zapp, founder of PK Scribe, LLC, is a fundraising and sales copywriter specializing in uniquely written copy that not only touches readers at profoundly deep levels, but does so intellectually, emotionally, and personally. Her distinct delivery of this triple combination can generate high response rates for your fundraising and marketing campaigns. Nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies looking to increase return on investment of their direct marketing campaigns can contact her at http://www.PKScribe.com.

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