What’s in it for your donors? Pay attention!

WIIFM: What’s in it for me?

Commercial marketers are constantly reminded to keep WIIFM top-of-mind, because they’re tempted to sell their wares on how great those wares are. Not what’s in it for the customer.

We have the same issue in fundraising. Too often, we think the reason people give to us is because we are so excellent.

Nope.

They give because there’s something in it for them. (We still have to be excellent; that’s the price of admission for them to even consider giving to us.)

Here are some things donors might get from giving to you, the real reasons for giving:

  • They’re seeking personal significance by helping change the world.
  • They’re finding spiritual strength by following the calls of their spiritual tradition.
  • They’re assuaging guilt.
  • They’re comforting fear.
  • They’re proving to themselves or others that they’re good people.
  • They know it feels good to give.
  • They might even be seeking a tax deduction.

There’s always something in it for them.

If you remember that and work with it, you’ll go far in the fundraising biz!

(This post first appeared on February 16, 2011.)


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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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