Good news for fundraisers: Donors are happy and loyal

Here’s some encouraging research for fundraisers, reported at Customer Experience Matters: Women And Wealthy Are Happiest.

Here’s the first part of the good news:

Happinessagegender

This shows that women are somewhat more happy than men, but more importantly, older people are happier than younger, by a margin that increases with age. (Other findings, not shown here, say that the wealthy are somewhat more happy than the rest of us, but that’s not material to us fundraisers. Unless we’re somehow wealthy.)

And here’s why this is good news: Happy People Are More Loyal Customers.

Think about it: Our target audience is made up of people with a proclivity toward happiness, which indicates a tendency to be loyal. In fact, donor data backs this up: Donor retention increases with age. At least until around age 80, when “involuntary lapsing” (death) curtails retention.

Here’s my theory: Happiness is a choice. That’s a piece of wisdom it takes a long time to discover or believe, which is why it’s more common among older people. People who choose to be happy are less likely to hold a grudge against a company (or nonprofit) that served them poorly. They’re less likely to believe a negative rumor. More likely to assume good motives. They want to think well of you. You have to seriously screw up to change that.

So remember this: In fundraising, we’re operating in a positive environment of very strong emotional health. It’s more positive than may be believable to sour, cynical young people or care-burdened middle-agers. Giving feels good. Being asked feels good. Being thanked feels good. Most things are good.

That’s why it works.

If you’re under 60, it may be just weird and hard to believe. But that’s the way it is. Fundraise into your donors’ happiness. It works much better than targeting your own cynicism or worry.


Comments

4 responses to “Good news for fundraisers: Donors are happy and loyal”

  1. Love this post! Thanks for sharing this research, and your thoughts for how this applies to donor retention. I’ve always thought we are more successful when we lift people up and inspire philanthropy, rather than bringing them down through guilt or peer pressure. Negativity breeds negativity, and not loyalty.

  2. Love this post! Thanks for sharing this research, and your thoughts for how this applies to donor retention. I’ve always thought we are more successful when we lift people up and inspire philanthropy, rather than bringing them down through guilt or peer pressure. Negativity breeds negativity, and not loyalty.

  3. Thank you for revealing the statistics, it looks quite interesting.
    According to it the older I grow, the happier I become. It gives me a good reason not to fear the future and the process of aging as it luckily brings good as well.

  4. Thank you for revealing the statistics, it looks quite interesting.
    According to it the older I grow, the happier I become. It gives me a good reason not to fear the future and the process of aging as it luckily brings good as well.

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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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