Measure your fit with intellectual, emotional index

publication date: Aug 31, 2011
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
Recently someone told me about a personal venture to bring economic freedom and justice to the world. It was fascinating stuff - really complex, but riveting at the same time. I advised my friend not to struggle to secure funding from the mass market. Jonathon Grapsas photo

Instead, I said, the project was something a high net worth individual might consider supporting.

Short and simple wouldn't work

The project required the sort of conversation that doesn't fit well within a mass or direct marketing piece. It's difficult to explain, complex, and better discussed one-on-one. But it's also the kind of highbrow proposition that often engages major donors.

This concept is best explained in the sketch below of the intellectual and emotional index, a concept developed by my old boss Sean Triner at Pareto Fundraising.  My friend's project sits at one end of that scale.

On the other end of the scale are cute puppies, sick children, international aid: things that strike a chord emotionally and make us stop everything we're doing to respond after seeing a TV advertisement, reading a letter or receiving a phone call. The average punter on the street resonates with the proposition, and knows exactly what to do, and why.Index graphic

Of course there are those that fall somewhere in between. Some missions are easy to transpose into a direct response message that a mass audience readily understands. Yet they're also keenly supported by other funders, whether major donors, charitable trusts or even government. Perhaps you're helping women with maternal health issues or fighting human right abuses. Those issues have universal appeal.

Some organizations will be a hybrid of all three, with some programs that are geared for government funding, some that excite the rich, and some that have broad appeal. Many of us would argue our organization falls into this category.

Why does this matter?

You need to understand where you fit into the mix, particularly if you're looking for public funding, fundraising for the first time or exploring different avenues for growth.

Get it wrong and you'll waste a lot of time talking to the wrong people, as well as wasting a lot of time and money in the process.

Get it right and you significantly increase your chances of raising loads of money. That means helping more cute puppies. Or perhaps even bringing about economic freedom!

Where do you fit?

Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.

If you you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can email him, follow him on twitter @jonathongrapsas or check out

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