14 reasons people give to charity

Why do your donors give to your organization? Here’s a great list from Marketsmart, at Here’s what supporters “buy” when they donate to charity:

  • A chance to be moved by someone’s story in an emotional way
  • An opportunity to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need
  • Empowerment to feel that I’m changing someone’s life
  • A sense of closeness to a community or group
  • A possible tax deduction
  • A way to memorialize someone
  • A way to continue my family tradition since I was raised to give to charity
  • A chance to be “hip” by supporting a charity
  • A way to feel connected to other people
  • A chance to be the “hero”
  • An opportunity to leave a legacy that perpetuates me, my ideals or my cause
  • An opportunity to give something back to others
  • A way to follow my religion
  • I want to be seen as a leader/role model

Here’s the important takeaway of this: Donors give mostly because of factors in their own hearts, minds, and lives.

Not because your organization is awesome, your programs are superb, your staff the best, your mission important.

Those things matter, but they aren’t the reasons people give.

That’s why effective fundraising is not about persuading people your organization is great and the cause is important. It’s about showing donors how your organization and cause are a good channel for their needs.

That’s why fundraising that works isn’t about us, but about you.

And that’s why fundraising isn’t about educating people but connecting with people.


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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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