Your donors seek significance — what that means to you

Here’s something worth reading from the Engage:Boomers blog: Winning With Boomers Takes Heart. The key point:

Typically, around age 50 we see a shift away from “success” and more towards “significance” as an underlying behavioral motivation…. [This] shift isn’t a generational thing, it’s a developmental thing. Reach age 50 and beyond, and one’s motivation for many decisions in life shifts.

One reason for a lot of off-target fundraising is that it’s created by under-50 professionals who are largely in the grips of the success motivation — not the significance motivation that drives the behavior of most donors.

They often fail to grasp that there’s a meaningful difference, and that the way you motivate one is not the same way you’d motivate the other. Without understanding the donor audience and its different way of thinking, fundraising is an exercise in wishful thinking.

Success-motivated fundraising would be full of facts and proof. It would say, This is going to work! We can prove it.

Significance-motivated fundraising would be emotional, story-driven, and highly focused on the donor. It would say, This is how you make a difference. This matters!

It’s an important difference, and the fundraiser who grasps it always does better.


Comments

4 responses to “Your donors seek significance — what that means to you”

  1. This idea is new to me. It seems to me that in order to fully understand the idea above, one needs to be knowledgeable in both human anatomy and psychology – but at least, you’ve given me a hint between behavioral motivation and significance-motivated fund raising.

  2. This idea is new to me. It seems to me that in order to fully understand the idea above, one needs to be knowledgeable in both human anatomy and psychology – but at least, you’ve given me a hint between behavioral motivation and significance-motivated fund raising.

  3. success motivation and significance motivation – I think they’re both significant…isn’t it?

  4. success motivation and significance motivation – I think they’re both significant…isn’t it?

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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