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What is Compassion Fatigue and How to Prevent It

The purpose of advertisements for charities is to invoke a psychological response, triggered by complex emotions usually through the means of storytelling. Guilt is a common approach that charities try to conjure out of their audience. Charity adverts want to call upon ‘anticipatory guilt’ which is the feeling of guilt that follows or precedes inaction. This is caused by the underlying awareness of one’s responsibility to avoid or help avoid someone experiencing an unfortunate occurrence. Increased sense of guilt of being responsible for others misfortune increases financial contributions. In a study, they found that in charity advertisements, guilt appeals to a stronger donation intention than with non-guilt appeals. The same study also found that the impact of guilt appeals on donation intention will be mediated by a sense of responsibility. This high sense of responsibility could potentially increase the chances of a person donating more than once as well.

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A charity's advertisement induces a ‘two-sided effect,' compassion and proximity, on the one hand, and distantiation on the other. What causes the reaction of creating this emotional distance is the distrust of an advertisement or charity, or also caused by compassion fatigue. Distrust can be brought about by the ad itself, i.e., the advertisement has a high production value (this can have the audience question where their donations would be going, to the charity or advertisements). Compassion fatigue can be caused by a long advertisement with multiple examples of suffering, or too many adverts in an acute time frame. Too much guilt can be counterproductive and make audiences not want to donate, due to the consistent invasive feelings of guilt and pity.

Imagery is an important facet to a charity’s advertisement. It gives the audience a visual of the suffering, the foundation is trying to prevent or eradicate. Depictions of suffering can provide evidence of the charity’s cause, giving the audience proof that their donations are very much needed. Thus directly creating the feeling of responsibility among audience viewers. Images that express too much suffering to the point of being grotesque could turn people off from watching or looking at your charities advertisement. There needs to be a balance. A gory image can be impactful if done correctly. A common term for grotesque imagery in adverts is “shock advertising” which takes an image that is riding on the edge of unwatchable and uses it to shock people into either paying attention or donating to the cause, its depictions that will make people question why [whatever is happening in the picture] it is happening.

Positive imagery, recently, has been used a lot more, to prevent compassion fatigue. Positive imagery usually consists of how donations could help who or what is suffering. Charities can also use images of volunteers or fundraisers they have had, show a group of people willingly advocate or fundraise for a cause. Donors who are exposed to positive charity adverts made donations worth 45% more on average. A study has shown that individuals who are surrounded or are exposed to people expressing pro-social behavior have a tendency to do the same, thus making pro-social behaviour the norm. This can increase not only donations but also increase willingness to volunteer and spread awareness of your cause.

There is a thin line between being emotionally invasive enough for the audience to experience pro-social behavior and being too intrusive that people will switch to another channel or ignore the advertisement. A ‘good’ advertisement can have negative aspects to it as long as there is some ultimate goal or positive response to the issue. Good charity ads invoke emotions and give that push to support the cause instinctually. ‘Good’ advert in this context means an advertisement that increases support and draw in new supporters. DRTV adverts can do just that; these adverts are analysed in live time, and can be edited to fit the charities core message. LIKECHARITY has production team that specialises in media buying and creative management to get the most out of the advert. Usually, a good DRTV advertisement share a story that is concise while creating a foundation for the charity’s purpose. This will create a more consolidated following which means more donations.

 

Reference:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201406/rhetoric-made-easy

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debra_Basil/publication/229181491_Guilt_Appeals_The_Mediating_Effect_of_Responsibility/links/02e7e534d83beba08f000000.pdf

http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/mediaWorkingPapers/MScDissertationSeries/2012/84.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2012/aug/30/charities-should-abandon-shock-advertising

https://pixabay.com/en/group-women-running-pink-absurd-524470/

https://pixabay.com/en/volunteer-hands-help-colors-2055015/

https://pixabay.com/en/donate-charity-giving-give-aid-654328/

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2012/aug/30/charities-should-abandon-shock-advertising

LIKECHARITY’s Journey to €6 Million

Our success lies in the joining of the generosity of Ireland and the simplicity of sending a text message.

As of last week LIKECHARITY has raised €6 million for charities through text message donations!

Our story began 4 years ago when Tadhg O’Toole and John Kyne saw a gap between charities and potential donors.  Text-to-donate campaigns were not popular because cell service providers were not able to effectively set up individual campaigns for Irish charities.

This problem lead to a solution. Kyne and O’Toole dubbed this solution LIKECHARITY, an intermediary between charities and the public that makes donating to an organisation as easy as sending a text message.

Since we unveiled our text-to-donate platform, over 300 charities have used the service, not only in Ireland but in the UK and United States as well.

Chief Operating Officer John Kyne explained that they never imagined the service would be so successful.  

“It wasn’t until Majella O’Donnell’s segment on the Late Late Show when she shaved her head in an effort to raise donations for the Irish Cancer Society.  It was such an emotional segment and she gave great context to the the issue at hand.”  

O’Donnell’s fundraising stunt was able to captivate a huge audience.  Over 15% of viewers donated via text message to the Irish Cancer Society.  Overnight the organisation received €500,000.  

This was when our little startup realised its potential, and more importantly realised that the generosity of Ireland is limitless.  We have gained fame from viral campaigns over the years which boosted donations tremendously; but just as important are the small charities we work with who utilise our platform so well.  Charities like Lauralynn and Jack and Jill are two children’s hospices that use our mobile donation platform extremely efficiently.

“We’re just the intermediary,” says Kyne.  “The real story is the people who donate and the brilliant charities who do such great work.”

We saw a huge amount of donations for Haiti hurricane relief this past week. This sent us over the €6 million mark in text message donations.  Fittingly, this surge was due to the Late Late Show, as retired rugby player Paul O’Connell went on air and urged viewers to donate to the disaster stricken country.

 

How generous will Ireland be this year?

According to the World’s giving index and the Charities Aid Foundation Ireland was ranked the 3rd most giving country in the world per capita in 2014. But in 2015 however our country had fallen down to the 8th most generous country in the world and only making it the 37th most stranger-friendly. Although the proportion of people who give to charity or volunteer their time has made us the 3rd most selfless nation in Europe, our scores have slipped lately.

Here at LIKECHARITY we know that a lot of the times it is not the lack of desire to help that hinders people to give to charity. Sometimes it is the difficulty of reaching out or knowing where to begin supporting, that make people reluctant. It was out of this very notion our company was born. We wanted to make it easy for you, the public to donate to a cause you cared about. Another reason people can feel fearful to give to charities are the scandals about misplaced funds or over-the-top compensations for aid workers. This is of course a problem but it is important to remember that far more charities are honest and transparent than shady.

We have observed after 3 years partnering with over 300 charities that most of them out there, can be trusted. And we are happy to help these organisations reach more people through simple texts donations, DRTV and Online solutions.  We hope our work can also encourage you to donate a gift or your time to one of our wonderful charity partners. Whatever you can spare matters!

To name a few; Dogs Trust continue their persistent work finding neglected dogs new loving homes. Merchant Quay Ireland have the only 24 hour night cafe opened for the homeless in all of Ireland. And Sightsavers are working relentlessly to cure avoidable blindness for thousands each year. These hero organisations could not continue their valuable work without the support of the public and we are honoured to help them in their fight against injustice.

As summer is winding down more people tend to redirect their focus towards charity work or donations. We hope that this trend exceeds expectations this year! 2016 have been a whirlwind year and we can all use a little more sunshine. And nothing makes you feel happy like helping someone else, so let’s make 2016 our most generous year ever!

 

Source: The guardian, The Irish Times, The Journal