The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Trouble connecting? Plug into identity.

In just 68 words, Seth Godin recently summed up a fundamental truth of human behavior that all nonprofit fundraisers should take to heart. (Read it here: “People like us do stuff like this.”) Rather than focusing on need or showing a donor what their gift can accomplish, those looking to move proverbial mountains should spend more time understanding and appealing to shared identity. When individuals perceive themselves as part of a community (or “tribe”, as Seth would say), they’re more likely to act in a way that supports conformity and loyalty to this group. If you can show or suggest that a group would act in a certain way as part of their shared identity, the individuals who identify with this group are much more likely to act in the same way.

This means that if you’re a graduate of Virginia Tech, you’re more likely to give to a cause if other Hokies are also supporting the cause. If you’re a Mets fan, you’ll sign up for the blood drive in Queens — because that’s what Mets fans do. If you live in the Lone Star State, you won’t mess with Texas.

There are many types of shared identity, such as those created through:

Location — a neighborhood, a nationality

Common experiences — graduating classes, survivors

Shared passions — birdwatchers, mountain bikers

By plugging into these social norms of community pride and self-identity, fundraisers and changemakers can inspire people to change behaviors, take action, and give.

How are you appealing to your audience’s identity and sense of community to rally support for your cause?

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

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

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Want to raise more money and learn how to market your cause with bigger impact? You’re in the right place! The Nonprofit Marketing Blog is managed by our team of experts here at Network for Good. We’re here to bring you the best in nonprofit marketing trends, fundraising techniques, technology developments, and amazing nonprofit examples.

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