The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

7 Reasons Why Donors Give (and 1 Reason They Don’t)

Knowing what motivates your donors to give to your organization is vital to the growth and longevity of your relationship. Have they been personally affected by the issue? Are they eager for ways to give back to their community? Is it part of a family tradition, or did they learn about you through their social networks?

What Motivates Donors

In 2017, charitable giving exceeded $400 billion for the first time. What’s motivating this surge in giving? The reasons for giving are as unique and individual as the donors who give.


Donors come to your nonprofit because they believe in your mission. They stay with you because you prove yourself worthy of their trust and commitment. Transparency and dependability are key. When you say you’re going to do something, be true to your word.

Desire to make a difference

When donors feel their gift has a direct impact on improving a situation, they feel empowered. Share specifics with your donors about what their gifts support. Detailed information about what you’re accomplishing as a direct result of donations gives donors confidence.

Personal satisfaction

Donating to charity feels good. Scientific studies have proven that generosity stimulates dopamine, which creates similar brain activity in the regions connected to the experience of pleasure and reward. Ready to learn more? Download “How to Motivate and Inspire Donors” now!

Family and upbringing

For many donors, charitable giving is a family tradition, handed down from generation to generation. Behavior learned at a young age stays with us into adulthood.

Personal stories

Donating is an emotional act, and people connect more to personal stories than statistics or broad statements. Put a human face on your facts and statistics, and get to the heart of the matter. Share that with your donors so they can connect with your work on a personal level.

Religious beliefs

Every major religion teaches good will, caring for others, and charitable giving. And donors practice what they preach. Giving USA’s 2017 Special Report on Giving to Religion discovered that 62 percent of religious households give to charity of some kind (religious or secular).

Social networks

The power of social media combined with the ease of online giving has contributed to the rise in popularity of peer-to-peer giving. The more people see their peers involved in a cause, the more likely they are to participate and donate. Plus, participating in social campaigns is fun. 

Tax benefits

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will impact every individual and organization. Nonprofits are watching how the standard deduction increase and elimination of personal exemptions will affect charitable giving. Although we won’t know for a few years the lasting impact these changes will have, we know that altruism is a driving factor for why people donate. Continue to make your case for change to keep donors inspired by your work.

And the #1 reason why donors stop giving…

They stop thinking that they (or their gift) matter to your organization.

Vary your communications so that you’re engaging donors more than simply when you ask for money. Send an update on a campaign that congratulates them on helping you reach your goal. Make sure they know you couldn’t do it without them.

Do you know how to motivate and inspire your donors? Download “How to Motivate and Inspire Donors” to find out how to keep donors happy and engaged. After all, happy people give more, and giving makes people happy. It’s a win-win.

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

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

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