Monday Buzz: Happy or Sad?

When considering whether to donate to a nonprofit, people respond differently to happy and sad facial expressions in marketing materials. And that makes a difference in your outreach. Also: the one bad habit you should break when you're onstage.

Powerful imagery and storytelling are perhaps the most persuasive components of any charitable fundraising campaign. But have you ever wondered whether happy faces or sad faces in your marketing materials are more likely to cause people to open their wallets?

Happy faces make viewers feel good, which may inspire them to maintain that feeling by giving. “Seeing sad faces, on the other hand, can boost donations by highlighting the severity of a problem and the acuteness of a need,” writes Xiaoxia Cao in a recent post from The New Influencer.

Cao conducted an online experiment using simulated ads for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to determine which facial expressions prompted the most giving. She found that participants who were already highly involved in charities “were more likely to express an intent to donate in response to happy pictures.” But those who did not have much charitable involvement were more likely to express and intention to donate if they saw unhappy faces.

“Campaigns should use sad-faced ads to target people with weaker ties to charities. But for people with stronger connections, happy-faced ads may be a safer bet,” writes Cao.

Break This Habit

Do you pace onstage when delivering a talk? It’s an easy way to add a little energy to your presentation, but it may be doing more harm than good.

“When you pace too much, you’ll lose out on the opportunity to use your movement to punctuate what you’re saying,” writes Anett Grant in an article from Fast Company. Also consider that your audience may focus more on your movement and not what you’re saying.

Pacing may also cause sight-line issues for your audience. “While that will depend on the shape of the room, the last thing you want to do is move around so much that some people need to lean over or crane their necks to see you—or just can’t see you at all,” writes Grant.

Other Links of Note

CMSWire checks in with four professionals who are performing content marketing experiments. Here’s what they’ve learned so far.

One of the biggest flaws of the meeting industry? Meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar says event professionals don’t do enough to evaluate the long-term value of meetings.

Take advantage of social media rumors. Oreo teased a controversial flavor to generate buzz, Inc. reports.


Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!