Home audio is often marketed with the promise: “it’s like the artist is right there with you in the room.”
Opera Helps is a project that literally puts an opera singer right there in your room, singing you an aria that is matched to help you get a new perspective on a problem.
It’s for people having a hard time – going through a divorce, say, or finding it hard to get motivated.
Apparently, it can have a profound effect on the recipient. One said: ‘To listen to music, chosen specifically for you, just a few feet away, is a powerful experience. After two bars, I weep. When the aria is over, life feels renewed.’
Clearly, you can get solace and renewed energy from music that you hear in the conventional way.
But there is something very interesting and powerful going on here, and it has to do with the personalisation – that the singer is there just for you, singing a choice of music which has been chosen especially to help you face your particular problems.
It makes all the difference when people think about you in particular.
And it is under-used in fundraising.
Naturally, you devote the most personal attention to your biggest donors.
But even with them, do you do enough? How often do you just use a formulaic thank you? Don’t you think they can tell the difference? And don’t you think they feel closer to, and more loyal to, people who think they’re special.
What about lower down the giving scale? You can give people different communications depending on their actions and the interests that these indicate. Automation means you can personalise in this way on a large scale.
Get past the pattern of broadcasting the same material, through the same channels, to everyone. We all like to feel special.
That’s why we developed our ‘Make it Personal’ programme, working with clients to deconstruct what can be an amorphous database of contacts, and putting in processes to get to know, understand and engage with their supporters. It means addressing all these areas: mind-set, systems, resources and storytelling.
Perhaps you are nodding along, but thinking: ‘can we afford to do this?’ We would put it the other way around: can you afford not to?