This means appealing to donors' visual, emotional and intellectual senses, says the report, written by Suzanne Mainwaring, director of the Noah's Ark Appeal, and Heather Skinner, senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan.
Neuro-linguistic programming holds that individuals naturally favour some senses over others. One donor's preferred way of perceiving the world, or "preferred sensory representational system", might be visual, whereas other donors might favour sound.
The authors argue that potential donors can filter out fundraising messages if they are not presented in the right way, or if they appeal to only one sense.
"Reaching the right consumer with the right message at the right time is marketing's holy grail," say Mainwaring and Skinner. "The implications of neuro-linguistic programming are substantial in the vast range of communications needed to reach donors."
The researchers tested four NSPCC TV adverts on focus groups and found that individuals with the same preferred sensory representational system favoured the same advert.