Why do people, charities insist on using the phrase “every little bit helps” when seeking support?

Each time I see this, I cringe. To some $2 is a lot of money – it’s not a little bit. To the little old lady down the road, that popped $5 in your bucket, it was her weekly bread money – to her it wasn’t a little bit.

Sure, when charities and the like use the phrase, they’re more likely thinking of the little bit – as effort, or what’s little to you and I, is BIG to those receiving it.

We all have different ways of thinking, it’s when we start thinking about our current and potential donors that we need to think about how they think, what makes them tick; and not just use words and phrases that tickle our fancy or are seen as the ‘norm.

If you don’t know what to say, spend some time looking at what others are saying; there’s no harm talking to some of your supporters to see what language they like.

One charity I did some work with held a focus meeting and invited three of their main supporters and three organisations they were hoping to get on board. The meeting was a great success with the current supporters doing all the work; all they had to do was explain why they were supporting – the others quickly pulled out their cheque books.

Perhaps organisations should look at doing this, it will help in more ways than one. You’ll learn first hand what current supporters think, and say about you, and it will help you see the language they use when talking about you. Some of this you’ll be able to craft to use in your ‘appeals’.

But, please think twice about using “every little bit helps” – it can come across as condescending and belittling.

Originally posted on AdageBusiness

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