The emotions that drive donors to give

From Pro Copy Tips, 11 powerful emotions to supercharge fundraising letters:


  1. Altruism
  2. Anger
  3. Beliefs
  4. Compassion
  5. Ego-gratification
  6. Fear
  7. Guilt
  8. Idealism
  9. Immortality
  10. Joy
  11. Recognition

Note that not all these emotions are positive ones.

Giving is complex. A lot is going on in a donor’s mind while she considers it. Your job as a fundraiser is to be aware of these things and communicate to them and through them.

Wishful thinking about how you want donors to think and feel won’t make you a better fundraiser.


Comments

4 responses to “The emotions that drive donors to give”

  1. This is a powerful list and will help the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo in crafting our messages. Here’s the one thing this list needs: the cycle that donors experience these in. There are many variables that go into this, yet we ought to be responsible for knowing whether she is going to give based on Belief or Urgency (the 12th one to this list)

  2. This is a powerful list and will help the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo in crafting our messages. Here’s the one thing this list needs: the cycle that donors experience these in. There are many variables that go into this, yet we ought to be responsible for knowing whether she is going to give based on Belief or Urgency (the 12th one to this list)

  3. I’m a bit bemused by this list.
    For a start, Altruism, Beliefs, Idealism and Immortality aren’t even emotions?
    As for the rest, perhaps because I work for a homelessness charity, my view is that anger rarely drives donations; it’s all about a combination of compassion and guilt.
    I suppose it will always depend on the cause e.g.
    Medical research = self-interest and/or personal experience
    Environmental = idealism
    Third world poverty = compassion and guilt

  4. I’m a bit bemused by this list.
    For a start, Altruism, Beliefs, Idealism and Immortality aren’t even emotions?
    As for the rest, perhaps because I work for a homelessness charity, my view is that anger rarely drives donations; it’s all about a combination of compassion and guilt.
    I suppose it will always depend on the cause e.g.
    Medical research = self-interest and/or personal experience
    Environmental = idealism
    Third world poverty = compassion and guilt

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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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