Donor-centered focus: Heart and Gratitude over WealthI find a widespread misunderstanding about the notion of what constitutes being donor-centered. It derives from two misconceptions:

  1. Assuming people don’t want to be asked.
  2. Spending all your time on cultivation, assuming folks don’t need an ask and will simply give spontaneously as a result of being wooed.

Both of these rationales short-change your would-be donors.

Why?

FIRST: Donors want to be asked because they’re starved for the love that comes from voluntary giving and receiving. Donors have love to give, but don’t always have an object towards which to direct their affection.

SECOND: Donors need to be asked because when they’re not, they don’t know how much you need their help.  Consequently, giving feels a bit empty. Almost a bit like a crap shoot.  Donors want to invest their money where they feel confident it will be most appreciated and will do the most good.

Let’s delve into both of these misconceptions more deeply, putting them into a donor-centered context.

In other words, what are your would-be donors feeling?

Donors are Love-Starved

(more…)

Details
Person in homemade costume playing a powerful role

Invite Nonprofit Donors Into Your Story, Giving Them a Powerful Role to Play

Person in homemade costume playing a powerful roleYou must invite your donor into the story.

Take yourself out of the equation.

Donors don’t care about you, but about what they can do through you.

Stop talking about your good work.

Talk, instead, about the good work your donor wants to do.

How?

5-Step Strategy to Illuminate the Donor’s Role in Repairing the World  

1.Tell a quick story about a specific project.

You’ve got lots of stories. They’re probably interesting enough to grab your donor’s attention. Don’t make the mistake of trying to talk about your entire mission all at once in a fundraising message.  It’s too much for people’s brains to absorb.

What you want to do,

Details
a cup of coffee a la heart

Why Would a Donor Give to Your Charity?

a cup of coffee a la heart

What gets donors going? The heart, not the head.

 

People do not give to the most urgent needs, but rather they support causes that mean something to them.”

This is the finding from a report done by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at the University of Kent: “How Donor Choose Charities.”  They begin their study from the widely-accepted premise that charities exist primarily to help needy people and the desire to meet needs is a key criterion in the selection of charitable beneficiaries. Interviews with committed donors found this was not the reason they gave. In brief, the study concludes:

Giving and philanthropy have always been supply-led rather than demand-driven: the freedom to distribute as much as one wants, to whom one chooses, is what distinguishes giving from paying tax. Yet the methods used to encourage donations tend to assume that philanthropy depends on objective assessments of need rather than on donors’ enthusiasms. The tendency to overestimate the extent to which people act as rational agents results in fundraising literature that often focuses on the dimensions and urgency of the problem for which funding is sought. The assumption underlying this approach is that donations are distributed in relation to evidence of neediness, when in fact much giving could be described as ‘taste-based’ rather than ‘needs-based’.

If there was ever a time to commit to finding out more about the folks on your mailing list so you know what floats their boats, this report indicates that time is decidedly NOW. Otherwise, you’re just “spraying and praying” as you buy into the conceit that “if only” folks knew about the need we address, they would give.  Because they should. That’s not why folks give.

People Don’t Always Behave Rationally

The truth is people are ruled by emotion more than objective data. We’re affected by stories we’re told and emotions we feel.

The study cites four criteria that influenced donor decision making. Perhaps surprisingly, they are not based on meeting your organization’s or your beneficiaries’ needs. Of course, these things factor in. But only after you’ve captured someone’s attention with something that relates to them and resonates with them personally and met the key influencing criteria.

THE FOUR KEY INFLUENCERS ARE:

Details
Hands giving and receiving gift

Are the Rich Motivated to Give Differently?

Hands giving and receiving giftNot as much as you might think.

Yet people tell me all the time how much they’re afraid to ask wealthy people for major gifts. If you share those fears, it’s time for a little “Charity Clairity:”

Contrary to what your gut may be telling you, NOT asking is not making would-be donors feel good. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In this article, I’ll let you in on:

Three major donor truths. And I’ll cover why (1) you must stop short-changing your would-be major donors by not offering them opportunities to be the change they want to see in the world, and (2) you must stop robbing would-be major donors of chances to feel good about themselves.

Six major donor triggers. We’ll explore how you can make donors feel so good they’ll want to say “yes” — and passionately — to your solicitation.

Bottom line: When you don’t make donors feel good, they’ll go elsewhere.

The Rich Are Just Like You and Me 

F. Scott Fitzgerald is famously supposed to have told Ernest Hemingway “the rich are different than you and I.” “Yes, Scott,” Hemingway supposedly retorted. “They have more money.”

It’s good to remember major donors are, first and foremost, just people.

They may have more money, yet many of them actually don’t even feel “wealthy” (just as often so-called seniors don’t feel “old.”)  In fact, a survey of 4,000 investors by UBS found that 70% of people with investible assets of $1 million or more do NOT consider themselves “wealthy.”

What most donors share (no matter their net worth) is

Details
Heart, paper, in hands

How to Use Psychology to Pre-Suade Donors to Give

Heart, paper, in handsAre you leading with a “gift” or “favor” to positively incline your donor to say “yes?”

This time of year is what I call “presuasion time.”

Because if you’re thoughtful about it, you can presuade donors to give up to the moment you ask!

That’s what we reviewed in Part 1 of this two-part series, where I described research from Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and the newer book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuadeand discussed how you might apply this research to your fundraising strategies. We learned the importance of leading with a “gift” or “favor” that will incline your donor favorably in your direction. Even the smallest of favors can create significant goodwill, and there are simple ways to boost the likelihood your favor will be returned.

  1. Today we’re first going to look at a way to tweak your language to make a difference.

  2. Then we’ll explore some types of favors donors are likely to value enough to want to reciprocate.

First, a reminder: Truth be told, every time of year is presuasion time. Everything you do with supporters should be designed to prime the pump so people are pre-disposed to give to you the next time you ask. Whether that’s next week, the week thereafter, or any week of the year! Whenever you’re not asking — and you should plan to send at least three non-asking communictions for every one ask — you should be in presuasion mode.

So, let’s get a little psychologically-minded, keeping in mind one of the six core Cialdini principles of Influence and Perusasion: Reciprocity. In brief, human beings often feel obligated to return favors, even if they are unasked for.

Details