The real reasons donors donate

Why do your donors give?

Is it because your organization is awesome and doing a great job at something important?

Yes, but not really.

The real reason they give is something inside their own heads, according to the Better Fundraising Blog at People Make Donations to Tell Ourselves…

Here’s why they give:

You and I make donations in order to tell ourselves who we are.

Of course, you need to be awesome. You owe that to your cause, yourself, and your donors.

But when it comes to asking, you are on your donors’ turf. And you’ll do a lot better by speaking your donors’ internal language, and show them how their donation makes them more truly and deeply who they are.

What that means is if you want to do well in fundraising, your messaging should…

… tell donors that they’ll love giving to your organization. Your fundraising will need to tell them that your organization has the same values that your donor has. Your fundraising will need to communicate, “people like you give gifts to this organization.”

You can ignore this reality — most fundraisers do. You’ll just raise less money for your cause.


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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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