“All I’ve Seen is a Bed and a Doctor Bill” — Loretta Lynn

“Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore” — John Prine

Stick with me.

This musical tour really is about fundraising.

No sooner had the last shots blanketed the horrendous carnage in Las Vegas than the fair and balanced folks at Fox News proclaimed that clearly the violence was a liberal-inspired fusillade against “Trump people”.

After all, ‘country music’ is the medium of the working, patriotic class, not the idle, coastal elites. So how could this assault on real Americans be anything else?

Such bullshit. And herein lies your fundraising introduction to the behavioral science concept of Confirmation Bias.

Simply put, ‘confirmation bias’ enables us to believe what we want to believe regardless of facts. It’s because of this powerful psychological factor that fundraisers need to be consistent and repetitive. No forgiveness for stepping out of the consistent message box. [See Does The Agitator Have a Split Personality?]

But I digress from the connection between the Las Vegas Massacre and how all this relates to music and confirmation bias.

Stick with me. And enjoy some music with me.

I started as a fundraiser in 1959. That’s a pretty good distance between ‘then’ and ‘now’.

What is important is not my age (76) but the age of your donors — mostly 60-80.

Since this aging group of donors accounts for a massive amount of the contributions to our organizations, I do want you to pay attention to the music of their generation. After all, it is the music of their generation, not yours or that of Gen X, Y or the Millennials that matters.

The values of a significant segment of the donors with whom we’re communicating were formed in the late ‘60s and 70s. Not today.

So, listen to the music. Maybe, even repeat some of the lyrics to them.

They’re not into Fox News. They’re into other, more anchored, realistic  times. Tunes about humanity and fighting for justice.

So, here’s a brief tour of the days when your donors were younger, perhaps more hopeful and fighting for change. They still are.

Although Folk and Country music is frequently assumed to be the soundtrack of the Republican Party it wasn’t always so. (Read J. Lester Feder about the political history of country music and how the genre found its home in the modern Republican party.)

Then — and this is my curated treat to all Agitator readers under 50 — please listen to this modest selection of songs that formed the conscience of the generation you depend on.

I’m serious on behalf of you that you click and listen. (Suggestion:  If you have the time, listen to all the songs.)

  • On Viet Nam. John Prine, Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore and his moving paen — Sam Stone — to the broken Viet Nam vets.
  • On Immigration. Joan Baez, Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Canyon. If you care one wit about immigration and what we, as a nation face, listen up. In fact,the great American songwriter Woody Guthrie was so moved by how the media dehumanized these migrant workers by not listing their names even in death that he wrote the poem that Joan Baez sang.
  • On Being Different and Protesting. Merle Haggard’s parody of the conservative reaction to culture change of the ‘60s, Okie from Muskogee  (but, in the interest of maintaining a commercial market share he also produced The Fightin’ Side of Me, a direct attack on Viet Nam protesters.  )
  • On Reproductive Rights. Lorreta Lynn’s song The Pill, a plea for birth control.  “All I’ve seen is a a bed and a doctor bill. You’ve set this chicken one last time, because now I’ve got the pill.” Particularly appropriate given the latest Trump move to gut contraceptive health care provisions.

Remember, most of our donors were born and grew in the caldron of social justice. Unlike Gen X, Y and the Millennials, they know singers — country and folk — as progressive protestors.

Do you remember all this? Some readers won’t.

But even if you don’t, your donors sure do. So, please, get familiar with  the power of Confirmation Bias.


P.S. There’s no question that Confirmation Bias is mighty powerful. We’ve done a long post, with video, about it.  See Make Your Donors Feel Awesome.


This article was posted in: Breaking Out of the Status Quo, Communications, Fundraising philosophy/profession, Media usage / trends, Nonprofit management, Social media, Starting Over, Transparency.
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