Why do donors give?

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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!

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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!