The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

The Secret to Getting People to Give: 14 Reasons Why People Donate

How To Get Non Profit Donations

Giving isn’t a business transaction. It’s a human connection. To inspire donors to give, you need to make a meaningful connection by showing them why they matter and how they can make a difference. When you understand why your donors give, you’ll be able to make a more effective appeal.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your donors personally and find out why they give. Their stories matter, and sharing them creates inspiration for others to follow their example. (If you don’t have an easy way to keep track of your relationships with your donors, check out Network for Good’s easy donor management system.)

That being said, here are some of the top reasons why donors give:

  1. Someone I know asked me to give, and I wanted to help them
  2. I felt emotionally moved by someone’s story
  3. I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during disasters)
  4. I want to feel I’m changing someone’s life
  5. I feel a sense of closeness to a community or group
  6. I want to memorialize someone (who is struggling or died of a disease, for example)
  7. I was raised to give to charity—it’s tradition in my family
  8. I want to be “hip,” and supporting this charity (i.e., wearing a yellow wrist band) is in style
  9. It makes me feel connected to other people and builds my social network
  10. I want to have a good image for myself/my company
  11. I want to leave a legacy that perpetuates me, my ideals or my cause
  12. I feel fortunate and want to give something back to others
  13. I give for religious reasons—my faith teaches me to help others
  14. I want to be seen as a leader/role model

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  • People act from the heart, not the head. Yes, your nonprofit has to show that it’s a good steward of donor money and you need to impart where all that generosity is going, but your appeal must contain more than numbers and pie charts.
  • Giving is a personal act. Your appeals need to be donor-centric. Make sure to tell your donor why they should care, and why they matter to your organization. Learn more about crafting your call-to-action and writing personal emails.

There are many reasons why people give. When you’re crafting your next fundraising appeal, take this list out and ask yourself if you’ve tapped into these reasons.

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Share your thoughts!

Join the conversation to offer your insight and experience. Have a question? We’d love to hear it!

  • Kelly

    I cant raise 1 donation for cancer 🙁

  • Patricia

    Please read and share this story. Thank you!

  • Mya Burns


    Honey and Shea Burns are a huge part of the Puna community. If you ever met Honey, you know how loving and strong she is. My brother Shea was diagnosed with spinal meningitis as a baby and he needs care 24/7 because of his seizures. Doctors said he would only survive a few weeks, but my mother has selflessly cared for him for the past 32 years. His medications are very expensive and some months my mother pays over $400 out of pocket to keep his seizures under control. She is a 70 year old retired woman and the expense is just too much for her to handle. My family is hurting right now, and on top of everything else, my mother is due to have surgery this October. She simply cannot afford to do this alone and I need to be there to support her and my brother. Unfortunately, I do not have the funds to relocate from Portland, OR and help take care of my family through the difficult months to come. If you could please donate and share her page it would really help my family:


  • Ashley

    Please read my story and share it to help me reach my goal.

  • Pam Miller


    I have never done a fundraiser and am looking for some help on where to post my Give Forward link and ideas on campaigning, etc. I know my story is a bit unique, so I am trying to find appropriate outlets.

    Thank you for reading.

  • Rani Nimri

    Please help spread the word need all the help I can get thank you

  • Ricki

    I’m a single mother of one 3 month old, struggling to get a car to make it to appointments. Please help by donating to our page thank you.

  • Natasha MJ Spira

    I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help. Any donation to help me in the causes I am doing fundraisers will be appreciated. Thank you for your support.

  • Rachel Geary
About This Blog

Liz Ragland
Senior Associate, Marketing and Content

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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