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Getting Inside the Brains of Your Donors

You’ve heard all you want to hear about storytelling, I’m sure. That’s old news. But did you know that the brain tells itself stories to make sense of daily events? It’s true! No lie.

Everyone knows that emotion drives charity giving. But have you ever stopped to think about what drives emotions?

Emotions have the power to inspire us. Think about it. Novels always far out sell textbooks. An episode of This Is Us about you name it overshadows the ratings of a documentary tackling any particular issue.

We can all think of great stories being told in direct mail or online appeals, but what happens when we switch to the oldest and most powerful (even after all these years) methods of all; one human being talking to another? Be honest. How much thought do we really put into the massive difference between what’s read and what’s said? If your answer is “not much” then the point is that an amazing opportunity is being ignored.

Research by the Neuroscience Institute of Princeton University revealed that stories cause the brain of the speaker and listener to synchronize. Third Sector research has also shown that the telephone—one human being speaking to another—is the most effective way to solicit donations. This is especially true when the discussion is about people, not numbers and hope, not despair.

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