The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

What donors want (and how to give it to them)

The folks at nonprofit research and consulting firm Root Cause have released a new report that sheds more light on the motivation behind a donor’s decision-making process. Reinforcing what we learned from the Money for Good study, Informed Giving: What Donors Want and How Nonprofits can Provide It also offers insights on donor preferences on information by type and presentation while offering tips for nonprofits, as well as donors.

A few highlights:

Top motivators of charitable giving

Giving is personal.

“… charitable giving among donors who regularly or sometimes give to new causes/charities is heavily motivated by affiliation and existing donor knowledge of an organization and is somewhat unresponsive to solicitation. As little as 16 percent of donors would respond to solicitation, while an even smaller percentage—5.8 percent—would be motivated to give to an unaffiliated organization of which the donor had no knowledge.”

What you can do: Don’t try to blast your message to the “general public” and expect successful results. Tailor your outreach for different segments—different audiences will need different messages to be convinced to give to your cause. Use your nonprofit’s marketing efforts and fundraising materials to make the connection between your work and the affiliations and identities your community cares most about.

Donors care about the impact of a potential gift.

“When making a charitable donation to a nonprofit, donors are interested in information beyond metrics of financial stability (such as fundraising and overhead costs). As many as 75 percent of donors use information about the nonprofit’s impact, while 63 percent use information about the social issue the nonprofit addresses.”

What you can do: In your fundraising appeals, make a clear tie between a donor’s gift and what that donation will accomplish. Make it easy for donors to find information about the results of your work on your website with benchmark reports about your issue area, annual reports, and updates on your programs. Once they’ve found this information, make sure it’s simple to use by presenting your results in easy-to-understand formats like one-page summaries, fact sheets, and graphs.

Donors’ research relies on transparency of the nonprofit, peer recommendations, 3rd-party endorsements.

“Donors use multiple sources to gather information instead of relying heavily on one particular source: Donors who frequently or occasionally look for information about nonprofits use the nonprofit itself as the most common source (76 percent), followed by friends or family (69 percent), and then independent third-party organizations (54 percent).”

What you can do: Provide information about your impact in multiple locations and formats. Include third-party ratings, such as a Charity Navigator or GreatNonprofits badges, in your fundraising appeals, on donation pages, and throughout your website. Encourage your supporters to spread your message by providing them with easy ways to share, recommend, and review your organization.

The Informed Giving report also highlights donor preferences on information by type and presentation while offering tips for nonprofits, as well as donors. Get the full report here .

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

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

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