Importance of a Strong First Impression

By: Nikko Ebbole

Whether it is interviewing for a job, meeting a significant other’s parents for the first time, or trying out for a sport there is no disputing just how important a first impression can be. As the saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” First impressions have only become even more important as we live in a world where the news comes in 140 characters or less, and entertainment comes in the form of six second videos.

The importance of these first impressions is even greater when it comes soliciting online donors on your nonprofits website. Bill Strathmann, CEO of Network for Good, recently put out a podcast about the right and wrong ways to go about drawing online gifts. There are a few important things to keep in mind when aiming to grab your audience’s attention.

Personalize Your Message

It is important to make sure the reader feels like you need them personally. Do not focus too much on what your organization can do, but talk about what the reader can do and how they can make a difference. Using words like “you”, “us”, and “together” can help make your message sound more personal.

Keep The Reader on Their Toes

This can be done in a few different ways and you can get as creative as you want with it. You can start your message off with an interesting fact or a question, something that is important to the audience. By starting your message off with something different it does of good job of intriguing the reader and making them want to continue to read.

Show Don’t Tell

It is a known fact that people remember much more of what they see as opposed to what they hear. So spice up your page with facts and information, you can even add an infographic to give the reader something that is appeasing to the eye. Use descriptive language to engage your audience, really paint them a picture with your words. If your being effective with your message you should be able to trigger all five of the reader’s senses.


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Nikko Ebbole is a junior at the Universiy of Iowa. He is currently double majoring in Ethics and Public Policy as well as Journalism and Mass Communications. He hopes to attend law school after graduating from the University of Iowa next summer.


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