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Giving Smart to Emotional Appeals


You see a TV commercial appear on the screen with powerful images of sickly children, under-clothed families and harsh living conditions. Words such as “urgent,” “critical,” “immediate” and “donate now” are thrown at you, urging you to call or go online to donate money. You feel a tug at your heartstrings and want to reach out to help. But wait. Do you know where your money is going and feel sure that it will be used wisely?

Charitable organizations frequently use the advertising technique of appealing to your soft spot. They are counting on reaching your heart and then getting you to open your wallet, too.  This has proven to be very successful because people’s emotions are a driving force behind many decisions that are made every day.

To ensure that your gift will make the greatest difference it can, do your homework first before giving. Know the facts and the history of the organization prior to making your decision. A fundraising appeal should describe the problem but should also explain how contributions will be spent or what the programs of the organization actually are. Pair your emotional response with a desire to ensure that your money is going to the right hands. Research different charity websites, ask questions and compare information that demonstrates public accountability and transparency. This helps you know where to place your trust. You can also check out additional resources online.

Charity reviews, contribution strategies and a wealth of information about organizations can be found at our website In addition, to locate organizations that interest you, visit our online list of reviewed charities. By taking a closer look at charities before giving, you let charities know that it’s important that they run their programs well and that you care about how they’re managed.