Why do donors give?


Many of us involved in the not for profit sector know that our causes do fantastic work, whether that be through providing care to the elderly, researching the cure to cancer or creating opportunities for underprivileged communities. But, while the general public, on the whole agree that charities are needed, not everyone gives! So, what is it that makes people give and why do they keep on giving?

There are a few factors involved in becoming a donor to a charity but the main reason is; because you are asked! It has never been truer than it is in fundraising that ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’ so, some people simply don’t give because they have never been asked! Being asked for a donation by a charity is often the trigger for a first gift. Once that donor-charity relationship is established, donors hear about all the good their donation helped make possible and in many cases, they will choose to give again.

Having a personal connection with a charity is also a trigger or giving. If a charity has helped your family or someone you know, you are more likely to give to it. Many people know that there is a shortage of clean drinking water in the third world and yet don’t give because they have never experienced it. Once you have personally benefitted from a charity, you are unlikely to forget them when it comes to choosing where to send your money.

Giving also feels good. There’s no denying it, making a donation to a worthy cause makes you feel good. Humans are social beings, we thrive in communities and we crave interaction. So, when you make a donation that you know is going to help a child get their next meal, you feel a connection with that child and you know that YOUR donation made a difference.

Many people are very busy with their jobs, relationships and hobbies and simply don’t have the time to volunteer at organisations that need help. Giving is the next best way of feeling like you’re making a difference in the world! If you can’t volunteer, why not give? It’s a great way of being involved and helping a cause and it doesn’t eat up any of your precious spare time!

Giving is a two-way relationship. People keep giving when the relationship with the charity is good. Like a one-sided friendship, where one person only talks about themself and is not interested in you or your life, your friendship is unlikely to last long. If a charity just takes your money and doesn’t report back to you on the difference it made, you are likely to stop sending money. However, if you know what your money is being spent on and you feel like your gift is appreciated and valued, you are likely to keep giving.

Lesson of the day; everything we know about developing relationships with friends we can apply to fundraising! Treating your donors like real people is key to having long-lasting support. *Ask *Thank *Report *Repeat!

Personalised thank you cards!


Over the summer I was raising money for activities that could only take place if they were funded by donors! We had fantastic results and now it’s time for reporting back.

Rather than just sending a generic thank you letter with all the facts and figures, I have asked the Chair of our Trustee Board to do hand written thank you cards that include photos from the activities made possible by our donors! This is a fantastic way to thank your donors and doesn’t take much more effort than a regular thank you letter. It’s also one of my favourite ways to get my Board involved in fundraising that doesn’t include an ask! (Donors also LOVE these!)

For more ways of getting Trustees involved, check out my previous article; Myth Busting! Trustees and what it means to be ‘involved in fundraising’.

Do you like to personalise your thank you letters? Do you report back in this way or do you have a completely different approach that works for you? Let me know in the comments!


‘Social media is a fad’

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‘Social media is a fad’

‘Social media doesn’t help our work’

‘How is adding a status on facebook fundraising?’

These are just a few of the statements I have had sent my way since joining my organisation and introducing them to the world of social media. Many of my co-workers were of the opinion that because they had never used it, they didn’t need social media to help their work. Even the person in charge of organising events! (Internal scream!)

So, in my lonely fundraising corner I got to work at improving our twitter feed and correctly setting up our facebook account! (To share a short horror story, when I arrived, the facebook account was set up as a personal profile!)

In the 18 months that I’ve been doing this we’ve now got 6000 twitter followers and 4000 facebook likes. Not bad for a very small charity! But, what does this mean for income? What does this mean for our services? What is the real impact of this work? Let’s face it, social media can be very time-consuming and doesn’t produce clear results straight away so we have to look at the numbers!

The impact on our website hits has probably been the most significant change we have seen since starting our social media journey. In August 2016, Facebook and Twitter combined contributed to 50% of all referrals to our website! 50%!!!!. Those are numbers that cannot be denied. Numbers that prove social media brings people to our website! TAKE THAT HATERS!

Having more hits on the website means more people read our publications, means more people sign up to our email list and ultimately means more people hear about our work. Fantastic! No, it’s not as much as if we had paid for a fancy advert on the TV or on the side of 1000 busses, but it was free of charge and has engaged a great amount of people.

Our email subscribe list is also an area of benefit for us. Since starting our work on social media (and directly increasing the number of website hits we get) we now have 14% more people subscribed to our email list. People who have ASKED to join our list and hear more from us! Email lists are where fundraising comes in, as unfortunately, as many of you fundraisers will know, facebook likes do not transfer into pounds! But, if you engage people enough on social media to create the below journey, you CAN impact your income;

The ideal social media to donor journey in 9 steps!

  1. Someone likes your facebook page
  2. That same person goes on to visit your website after seeing a link for one of your articles
  3. They make the decision to sign up to your email list
  4. YOU email them a personal, individual welcome email asking them if there is any particular area of your work they are interested in (this starts the personal relationship!)
  5. They receive targeted emails reporting on projects they have expressed interest in along with general updates of your work
  6. You continue to personalise communications when possible
  7. You send your annual email update fundraising message (it is important not to bombard this group with fundraising, they’ve chosen to hear about your projects at this point so one or two fundraising emails a year is enough)
  8. They decide to donate/ become a member / do a challenge / all of these!

If you want to hear more about transferring social media likes into donations, definitely read this article by Joe Garecht; How to Turn Social Media Supporters into Donors to Your Non-Profit

No, social media doesn’t immediately bring in all the money. But, social media provides a free platform for engagement, directs people to your website and ultimately starts people on a journey to becoming an engaged and loyal donor.  ALSO, so many people are on social media now that it is no longer a platform for the young! Take advantage, get involved and give social media a go!

What success have you had with social media? Do you face similar challenges in your organisation? Has anyone ever told you that ‘social media isn’t important for our work’? Then get in touch and let me know your story!