There’s an art to writing copy for an effective fundraising letter. It differs based on the medium, and it needs to stay within certain guidelines that I like to refer to as “reality.” There’s the kind of reality we talk about here to those of you who read and are relatively well informed about the issues. There’s also a kind of reality used in fundraising letters that’s often a bit on the scare tactic side, but it’s also meant to showcase very real threats that are technically on the horizon for those who don’t really pay attention to what’s happening in the various political debates. It’s not BS if the group is actually working on those issues. It is BS if a group is fundraising off of those issues and not actually in a position to do a damned thing about it.
So imagine my surprise when the National Association of Gun Rights started running Facebook ads with a petition to stop the UN from passing a small arms treaty. The ad linked to a fundraising appeal by a Congressman that says you must give to the “National Association for Gun Rights so [they] can fight for your gun rights and defeat the U.N. Small Arm’s Treaty.” Oh really? A Congressman who has no authority over treaties plans to work with a group that has no presence at the UN to stop unaccountable diplomats with an online petition? That is going to be some show.
Before you start in with rants about NRA fundraising using the UN as a basis for their appeals, I’ll point out one big freakin’ difference in the situations. The NRA is actually an official NGO at the UN so that they can work on this issue. They’ve been working that front for 15 years. In other words, when you respond to that appeal from NRA, your money is going to an organization that is actually able to fight it – with more than just an online petition & Congressman who has no authority over the issue.