Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been revamped and updated with new fundraising insights.
The Secret to Getting People to Give
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 create 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 simple, smart fundraising software.
Network for Good surveyed 3,000 donors to find out what inspired them to give.
Here are the top 8 reasons for donating, from most important to least:
- I know there is a need for the nonprofit’s mission in my community and I know it does good work
- I believe the nonprofit will use my gift to stabilize or expand programming
- The nonprofit communicates about the impact of giving by sharing program outcomes
- I know someone who benefitted from the nonprofit’s work
- I want to be associated with the organization and its brand
- I see the organization online and on social media
- I want the tax deduction
- I know someone on the board of directors or who volunteers
We also asked some of the 10,000+ small nonprofits we work with for some of the most common reasons their donors give. Here’s what we heard:
4 bonus common reasons for donating
- Someone I know asked me to give, and I wanted to help them
- I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during a disaster)
- I want to memorialize someone (who is struggling or died of a disease, for example)
- I was raised to give to charity—it’s a tradition in my family or part of my faith
Putting this into action
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 show 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.
Let donors support your cause long-term:
You donors aren’t just interested in your cause right now – they’re likely to still care in a month or a year. Give them the option to make a recurring donation to your cause.
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.