Effective Fundraising: Message Framing Techniques In Nonprofit Fundraising
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Can nonprofit fundraising be more targeted and effective through the use of message framing techniques? Message frames are narrative lenses utilized by writers to present evidence in different ways to influence how an issue is most likely to be viewed by the reader. To test the effectiveness of three types of message frames, a randomized experimental study was conducted on roughly 6,500 participants through the Center for Child Protection’s annual direct mail year- end fundraising appeal. The Center for Child Protection is an Austin nonprofit that helps children who have been victims of sexual and physical abuse through legal, medical, and therapeutic processes. The three message frames used for this study are informational, which educates the reader with core facts and statistics on the issue; personal, which provides a narrative story told with the aim of emotionally impacting the reader; and motivational, which focuses on the reader’s ability to make a change and includes a direct call for action. The effectiveness of each frame was measured by numbers and monetary amounts of donations. Differences across message frames in their effectiveness are analyzed with several statistics, including logistic regression and linear regression. I find that the informational frame was the most effective message frame, in terms of producing the most responses and bringing in the highest monetary amount of donations. These results were suggestive of differences, but were not statistically significant. I suggest that this study be repeated multiple times to gather more data for further testing.