Why they give

It can be hard to remember why donors donate.

It’s hard because their reasons are usually simpler and more internal than our reasons for valuing our cause.

That’s why so much fundraising misses the mark. Because it basically says, “You should donate to this for these reasons” — backed up by facts, statistics, and high-flown branding statements.

Which mean nothing to most donors.

Here’s a humbling look at really why donors give from Michael Mitchell’s Fundraising Friday newsletter on LinkedIn:

… the act of giving is not merely a gesture of charity or altruism; it’s a deeply personal expression of empathy and connection. As fundraisers, never forget this connection between giver and cause. Never forget that behind every donation lies a story of personal significance and shared purpose.

This can be so hard to believe and to remember. Because quality organizations have smart, rational, numbers-driven reasons for what they do and how they do it. That’s exactly how it should be.

But all that tells us nothing about donors’ reasons for being part of it all.


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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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