National Wildlife Federation’s Anne Senft on Connecting With Boomers
TM: Which copy approaches have you found work best?
AS: The copy approach that works with our members is emotion, trying to elicit an emotion out of the donors to inspire them to donate. Some people will give to charity because of rational reasons. But for the vast majority, it’s really an emotional decision because they have some connection with the cause.
Our CEO is a great storyteller, so we often use some of his stories about his grandson, Thaddeus, and how he wants to leave a better planet for him. … Another big thing is to use powerful images. For example—and this is kind of ubiquitous at this point—the polar bear out on the iceberg not able to get back to shore … I had my sister read one of our missions, it was about four pages, and I said, “What did you come away with?” She said, “What I remember most is the drowning polar bear cubs, because I’m a mother and I can relate to that.”
TM: What about your design strategy?
AS: Traditionally, our creative has been relatively simple, not too slick … it’s very grassroots. So, lots of powerful photos of wildlife—especially large, charismatic animals and birds—because that’s our brand. Now, as we move more to [address] the boomers, I mean it’s kind of uncharted territory, but we’re thinking that things that are a little bit more colorful that appeal to a younger audience [will work]. The thing with boomers is that they might be 60, but they see themselves as 40. So you don’t want to be putting a little kitten [in your creative] with knitting needles or anything [too cutesy] like that. We have to be conscious of that. And I can’t say that we have quite figured out what the right design strategy is going to be, but we are testing to figure it out.