5 things worth knowing about your donors’ brains

One of the main struggles of fundraising is the awkward fact that the human mind is driven first by emotion — and secondarily by logic and reason. It’s even more pronounced when it comes to charitable giving.

Here are 5 Ways Neuroscience Helps Your Nonprofit Understand Donor Behavior from the StayClassy Blog:

  1. Become the answer to negative emotions. One reason people give is to “fight back” against the bad things happening around them. Keep that in mind. You empower your donors in hard times.
  2. Understand donor values. Pay attention to the values they are putting to work when they give to you. Make your fundraising about those shared values.
  3. Remind donor why they give. Don’t go silent on donors. In their busy lives, they can easily forget why they connected with you.
  4. Hook donors on a feeling. Be aware of the emotions your fundraising taps into, and do those things consistently. People give from the heart.
  5. Build donor loyalty. When you connect emotionally and consistently, you become part of donors’ lives. That’s what keeps them giving.


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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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