Know Why Donors Give

August 19, 2015

 

Why do your donors give to your organization? If you ask that question of your board and staff, I’ll bet many would say it’s because of the wonderful things they (your organization) does.

 

That’s kind of like believing that a benevolent sorcerer (if there is such a thing) is the magical source of all the things, like contributed income, that makes it possible for a nonprofit to do all that it does.

 

We emphasize the importance of staff and boards knowing and understanding why their donors give to them. They must learn to think about the various motives that move donors to give.

 

Do you know what really motivates your donors to write checks? With this understanding comes the ability to see what would make a potential donor actually take out his checkbook and give.

It’s been said in this space before, but bears repeating: it’s about the needs and motivations of the donor…not the institution.

 

So, an inquiring mind should be wondering right about now, “How do I find out for myself why donors give?”

 

The answer: Ask! When conducting a phon-a-thon, just Ask! When you send out your next survey, just Ask! In your next appeal to donors, Ask why they’ve supported you in the past. At an event, if you can Ask discreetly, by all means, do so! Just say, “You know, I wonder if you can help us out. We’ve been trying to get a feel for why…” You can take it from there, I’m sure.

 

The feedback you get will be an invaluable resource as you look to push your program to the next level.

 

Do you know why your donors give? Does your staff and board know? Have you created a strategy around that accumulated knowledge?

 

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