Know the oddball reasons donors donate

The reasons people give to nonprofits would probably surprise you — unless you’re an experienced fundraising and you’ve been studying those reasons for a while.

Same with marketing. Quite a bit the same. The Bad Language blog has a post (on marketing) about some of those surprises, at 6 eye-opening marketing insights for non-marketers:


  1. Features aren’t enough, tell a story
  2. Heuristics matter (you don’t persuade by telling people all the wonderful facts about your program; you need to bring it all together into one statement that they love)
  3. Proof points (prove that what you claim is true — but not with features)
  4. People buy from companies they trust (some ways to lose trust: swagger, hype and bogus claims; talking about yourself and not addressing customer’s needs; trying to sound big and clever with long words and jargon)
  5. Most people aren’t ready to buy yet (so create a relationship)
  6. Names matter (but not that much)

These aren’t too different from fundraising. The important point here is that what nonfundraisers believe to be the reasons donors give are most likely wrong. Pay attention to the real reasons.


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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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About the blogger

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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