Donors are an interesting bunch.
This group of highly benevolent people do one of the most irrational things known to man.
They give money in exchange for…
As a fundraiser, you often find yourself talking to potential donors through email, phone, direct mail, etc.
You’re constantly sharing with them all of the cool things that your organization is doing and then pitching, asking, and sometimes begging them for a donation.
But, why do people give to nonprofits?
Moreover, why do they give to your organization?
If you can’t answer that question, then all of your emails, messaging, appeals, phone calls are going to be like throwing a bunch of spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Why do fundraisers play the guessing game?
Because most of them think that people give for the same reason…to be a “blessing” or a good human.
But, people don’t give to be a blessing. Nor do they give to be a good human.
When you hear donors answer the question of why they give, and you hear this type of answer, what they are actually doing is repeating the story they tell themselves to give to your organization.
The reason people really give has nothing to do with the act and more to do with the feeling they get from the gift they make.
Think about why you buy a pizza or why you buy a lexus or why you buy tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert.
You aren’t buying the thing…you are buying the experience of what that thing can give you.
When you buy pizza, you’re buying the experience of the smell, the taste, and fulfillment it gives all of your senses.
When you buy the Tesla, you’re buying the feeling of importance, status, and wealth. You’re buying the feeling of saving the environment. You’re buying the feeling of “people know I’m rich because I drive this car.”
When you buy JT tickets, you’re buying the feeling of getting lost in his show with the lights, the atmosphere, the crowd, and the songs that move you. You’re buying the feeling of pride of attending the concert of one of your favorite singers.
It works the same way with your donors.
Donors give to causes, NOT because they just want to do good or they have a heart for a cause.
Donors give because of the feeling that your organization gives them.
Donors don’t consciously think of this feeling, however, they are telling themselves a story around this feeling. They do this to make sense of this irrational act.
There is nothing rational about giving money away. It is totally an act of generosity based in empathy and humanity. It falls outside of economic theory and into something that is deeper spiritually within a person.
Generosity is not normal for the selfish human because generosity is a version of our higher self. As fundraisers our job is to serve humanity in such a way that brings them to a level of living out of their higher self.
(That’s why I love my job)
Its not about asking and begging for money. Its about serving other humans by presenting an opportunity that allows them to live from a place of generosity and selflessness as opposed to selfishness.
If your organization is unclear about that feeling and they have no idea the level of “feel good” your donors get from giving to your organization, you will not be able to replicate success.
Most of us rely on end of the year campaigns or emergency appeals instead of the evergreen nature of what you do.
Every day your organization is changing the world. Unless your nonprofit only works in seasons, what you do is evergreen. That means the need is great every day, not just on Giving Tuesday and December 31st.
There’s this pervasive lie that people only give at certain times of the year. Or that they will only give during emergencies.
So, what do our communication channels look like?
They look like a bunch of “help now!”, “the need is great!”, “keep giving”, etc.
Imagine getting this type of communication from your friend every week? You started out feeling empathy for your friend and wanting to help him out to getting annoyed because “the need” is ALWAYS great!
Take a step back and admire the beauty of your givers.
What feeling are they reaching for when they give to your cause?
What sense of hope is released in them as they connect as partners and investors, not just transactors with what you do?
If you’re interested in uncovering this feeling, I would love to chat with you about it. We can hop on a 30 minute call and help you discover a little bit more about why your donors give and create a plan to get more of them to give as well as grow your existing donor base.
I have a very busy schedule, so I only have a few slots open up each week, but talking on the phone with my fellow fundraisers is one of my favorite things to do.
As someone who has been on your side, I get the politics, the dreams you have, and want to be the ear you need to share the hopes you have to get more donors.
Even if you just want to validate an idea you have to get new donors, lets discuss it.
PS – If you don’t see a time on the calendar that works for you, just hit reply and let me know some times that work for you. Let’s find a time that works for both of us.