Posts tagged ‘motivation’

May 20, 2016

Donors Say: Enough about You. Let’s Talk about Me!

A recent study reveals that donors support charitable causes for “very personal reasons.” In other words, giving is about them (the donors and what motivates them) and is far less about you and your nonprofit organization.

This is not surprising news to those of us who practice donor-centered fundraising. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have additional research data that supports the idea of being donor centered.

LOVE statue by Aaron Vowels via FlickrDonor Loyalty Study: A Deep Dive into Donor Behaviors and Attitudes is the study report from Abila, a leading provider of software and services to nonprofit organizations. The researchers explored questions with a representative sample of 1,136 donors in the United States across all age segments who made at least one donation to a nonprofit organization within the previous 12 months.

The study identifies the three “main reasons for donating”:

  • I am passionate about the cause — 59 percent
  • I know that the organization I care about depends on me — 45 percent
  • I know someone affected by their cause — 33 percent

Other reasons for donating generated far lower responses, ranging from just three to 18 percent.

You’ll notice that each of the top three reasons for giving involve “I” not necessarily you or your charity. Let’s explore this a bit.

The number-one reason for giving involves the donor’s passion. You’ll also notice that the donor is passionate about and supports the “cause” though not necessarily the organization.

In other words, I may be passionate about fighting cancer. However, I might be fickle when it comes to supporting a particular cancer charity. For example, this year, I might support the American Cancer Society. However, if I’m not stewarded or asked effectively, I might shift my support to the City of Hope next year. I’ll still be a passionate supporter of the fight against cancer, but the organization I choose to support will change.

The challenge for nonprofit organizations is to embody the cause for which donors have passion. An organization needs to demonstrate to its donors that it is the worthy channel for their passion. Remember, donors have choices. You need them more than they need you.

If you do what I’ve just said, donors will understand that you need them, that you “depend” on them. And that’s the second most common reason why people give. If your organization embodies a donor’s passion and let’s that donor know how important she is, she will be far more likely to renew and upgrade her support.

The third reason for giving is really just a sub-category of the first. Again, it’s about the “cause” rather than the organization. Yes, in some cases, it might be about your specific organization. However, that won’t always be the case.

By understanding your donors, you can tailor stewardship and appeal messages to them. This will improve your effectiveness.

read more »

August 10, 2012

8 Valuable Insights from a Major Donor

I recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time with a major donor. He was kind enough to visit with my graduate students in the “Advanced Fund Development” class I teach at Drexel University. Daniel (not his real name) shared a number of valuable insights about how some philanthropists think.

I thought you might like to learn what Daniel had to say since it might very well help you when working with your own donors and prospects.

Daniel and his wife personally contribute generously to a variety of nonprofit organizations and serve on a number of nonprofit boards. Daniel also administers a family foundation established by his parents.

Daniel told the class that he believes “donors see their giving as an extension of themselves.” He indicated that the more involved he is with an organization, the more personally he’s connected, the more likely he is to donate. In addition, he said that he is motivated by the notion of “giving back.” If he, or a family member, has benefited from the services of an organization in a significant way, he’s more likely to contribute.

However, for Daniel, it’s not all about involvement and reciprocity. He needs to also have confidence in an organization’s leadership before he’ll provide a significant gift. Two of the things that help build his confidence in the leadership are:

  1. the quality of the organization’s products or services,
  2. the demonstrated efficiency with which the organization provides those products or services.

One of his sources for information about organizational efficiency is Guidestar.

If an organization has a good relationship with a prospective donor, Daniel doesn’t really believe there’s much of risk in accidentally asking for too much. He says, “People aren’t really offended by being asked for too much if they were properly cultivated first.”

Daniel understands nonprofit organizations. He expects to be asked. If he’s asked for too much, he simply lets the development professional know. He doesn’t get offended because he assumes the development professional has made a good-faith attempt to ask for something appropriate. Sometimes they miss; sometimes they hit the target.

When discussing particularly large or complex gift arrangements, Daniel doesn’t rely on the expertise of his development contact. Instead, he turns to his lawyer for advice. While he wants his development contact to be knowledgeable, he has no expectation of or need for that person to be an expert in the area of complex gifting.

Organizations that approach Daniel should also understand that he and his wife consult each other before making philanthropic commitments. While they don’t necessarily support all the same organizations, they’re both involved in most philanthropic decisions.

When he gives, Daniel really doesn’t expect to receive any tangible benefits. Daniel says such benefits or little recognition gifts are not very important to him, though they’re sometimes nice. What’s more important to him is access. For example, when he contributes to a theatre company, he enjoys the opportunity to meet the actors and directors.

While Daniel likes having the option to meet with a development professional, to visit an organization’s home, or to observe its programs, he doesn’t usually require a lot of hand-holding before making a philanthropic decision because, in part, he doesn’t have the time for it.

“Someday, I may have more time, but I won’t necessarily want to spend it with a development person,” he says with a smile. He’s happiest when organizations respect his time while giving him the option of how much contact he will have.

Much of what Daniel shared with my students was nothing new. Researchers have found many donors feel the same way. But, his insights serve as terrific reminder for all development professionals.

When working with your major donors and prospects, keep these tips in mind:

read more »

September 30, 2011

7 Things You Should Know about Seniors that You Probably Don’t

Photo by Visentico/Sento via Flickr

There are seven things you should know about older Americans that just might surprise you and help you with your fundraising efforts. U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management published the report U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth-TMbased on its 2011 survey of Americans with an average age of 61 and investable assets of at least $3 million.

There are now approximately 5.6 million households in the U.S. with more than $1 million in investable assets, including 4.8 million with $1 million to $4.99 million and 782,000 households with more than $5 million in investable assets, of which approximately 182,000 have greater than $10 million in investable assets.

Here’s what you need to know:

Of those with net worth of $3 million or more, 40 percent do not consider themselves “rich.” They may consider themselves “comfortable” or “financially secure,” but not “rich.” So, when speaking with those who you may consider to be wealthy, consider that they may not define themselves in the same way. So, be sure to speak their language. For example, many people think that a “bequest” is something that only rich people do and, therefore, there’s a good chance that they will not think this is an option for them since they’re not rich. When talking about a charitable bequest commitment, you might be far better off keeping it simple by talking about “supporting your favorite charity through your will.”

Older, wealthy Americans believe the most important use of wealth is to ensure financial security for themselves and their families. So, when speaking with these individuals, show them how philanthropic planning can benefit them and their families. For example, a Charitable Gift Annuity can provide them with an income for life. Or, a gift of appreciated stock rather than cash can help them avoid capital-gains tax. Also, be sure that donor prospects understand that you’re not seeking all or even a large portion of their wealth. Let them know that you understand the old adage that charity begins at home. By being donor-centered, you’ll have a happier prospect who will be much more willing to support your organization.

Among older, wealthy Americans, 40 percent say they do not have an estate plan that is comprehensive. There are many reasons for this. They may simply not have gotten around to it. They may not know what their options are. They may not know what the elements are of a comprehensive estate plan. They may not know to whom to turn for assistance. This presents you with an opportunity to be of service. You can educate these people and guide them to get their estate plan in order. In the process, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss how philanthropic planning can be an effective, desirable part of estate planning. And, you will earn the gratitude of those you assist.

Only about one-third (34 percent) of parents agree strongly that their children will be able to handle the inheritance they plan to leave them. This is an opportunity for you to show parents how they can structure their estates to confidently take care of their children while also benefiting their favorite charity. Again, by being of service to prospective donors, you can ultimately help your nonprofit organization.

read more »

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: