Most people support some type of charity or cause—whether by giving their time, money, or resources. In fact, according to the Giving USA 2015 report, Americans donated an estimated $358.38 billion to charity in 2014 alone. And because so many people give and there are more than 800,000 U.S. charities that must regularly compete for funds, many non-profit organizations and other donation-based entities wonder: Why do people donate? How do they decide which charity to support? Why do they give to one charity instead of another? And how can our organization get more people to donate to our cause?
If your agency works with nonprofit clients, you may have wondered these same things yourself. Thus, below are some answers to these questions, based on scientific research:
Why People Give
A study published in The Journal of Consumer Research found that people who have strong moral values give more money to charities than other people. In addition, behavioral science shows that people typically give money to charities for one of three reasons:
- Purely altruistic – They donate because they value the social good that the charity does.
- “Impurely” altruistic – They donate because they like knowing they contribute to the social good of the charity.
- Non-altruistic – They give to show off how much money they have to others.
How People Decide Which Charity to Support; Why They Donate to One Charity Instead of Another
William T. Ross Jr., ING Global Chair and professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut School of Business, told Forbes.com that “It’s not only the characteristics of the giver that determine their likelihood of donating, but characteristics they perceive in the recipient.”
For example, research shows that people are more likely to donate to a cause when:
- They believe the recipient is worthy of the donation (i.e., that the charity recipient’s situation occurred through no fault of his or her own).
- The cause aligns with the donor’s personal moral values.
- The donor empathizes with the recipient(s) of the donation.
How to Get People to Give
Regardless of the cause, to get people to give—or to give more generously—your nonprofit clients need to:
- Build strong relationships with both potential donors and existing donors.
- Get to know them individually. Also, try to determine whether and how much they care about a cause, and what their potential capacity is for giving.
- Recognize that different groups of donors have different needs (i.e., separate new donor prospects from existing donors, and market to them accordingly).
- Humanize fundraising campaigns by including compelling personal stories about the plight of an actual identifiable individual whom the money will help (instead of describing a general societal problem or relying on statistics).
- Foster empathy in the marketing messages (i.e., Specifically state or imply why the recipient is either not responsible for his or her situation or had a low responsibility for it).
- Directly ask donors for their support and a donation! (The number one reason people don’t donate is that they were never asked!)
3) Use predictive software, such as ExactAsk, which uses several data sources to help organizations determine, with a high degree of certainty, the precise amount donors are willing to donate.
4) Promptly thank people who donate in a personalized way (e.g., a personal phone call, a handwritten note, etc.).
By incorporating some of these tactics into your nonprofit organization’s campaign, you’ll be better able to get through to donors and help your nonprofit make a greater impact with its fundraising efforts.
To learn more about how to attract millennials to become consistent contributors to your charity, schedule a briefing today.