You can email your donor base until you’re blue in the face. You can
make your donate button larger than the vat of coffee sitting
between you and your computer monitor (yes, we can see it from here).
You can share the latest statistics about your cause, and even
make your brochure look flashy while you’re at it.

But, here’s the kicker: People have things to do other than care about your cause.

not necessarily competing with another nonprofit whose mission is
similar to yours; you’re duking it out with soccer practice, Must See
TV (do they still do that, or has that gone the way of TGIF?) and
that all-inviting couch beckoning your supporters to take a load off.

This week we’re going back to basics to remind you of why people convert from supporter (or even skeptic) to donor:

  1. Someone I know asked me to give, and I wanted to help them
  2. I felt emotionally moved by someone’s story
  3. I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during disasters)
  4. I want to feel I’m changing someone’s life
  5. I feel a sense of closeness to a community or group
  6. I need a tax deduction
  7. I want to memorialize someone (who is struggling or died of a disease, for example)
  8. I was raised to give to charity – it’s tradition in my family
  9. I want to be “hip,” and supporting this charity (i.e., wearing a yellow wrist band) is in style
  10. It makes me feel connected to other people and builds my social network
  11. I want to have a good image for myself/my company
  12. I want to leave a legacy that perpetuates me, my ideals or my cause
  13. I feel fortunate (or guilty) and want to give something back to others
  14. I give for religious reasons – God wants me to share my affluence
  15. I want to be seen as a leader/role model

To recap:

  • People act from the heart, not the head. Yes,
    your nonprofit has to show that it’s a good steward of donor money and
    you need to impart where all that generosity is going, but your appeal
    must contain more than numbers and pie charts.
  • Giving is a personal act.
    Notice any common thread in the list of 15? They all contain the
    pronoun “I.” The people you serve are important, but make sure to
    put the “you” and “your” (i.e. the donor and why s/he should care)
    front and center. Read more about crafting your call-to-action on Katya’s blog and in the Learning Center.
  • The act of giving is immediate. Give
    your donors the opportunity to act here and now. Your relationship with
    them will be long-term, but their willingness to give is now–let them
    act on it.

There are many reasons as to why
people give. When you’re crafting your next fundraising appeal, take
this list out and ask yourself if you’ve tapped into these
reasons or not.