Motivate donors by sharing your nonprofit’s success story


While your organization is dedicated to doing good in the community and serving a particular set of needs, it remains true that you also have another group to serve – your donors. Their continued generosity is what empowers you to fulfill your mission.

How can you ensure that your donors will dedicate their resources to your organization, year after year? At its heart, this is a question of motivation. How can you motivate donors to continue to give to your organization? The 2016 US Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy revealed that 54 percent of wealthy donors gave because they believed in the mission of the organization to which they were giving and 44 percent gave because they believed their gift would make a difference. These two statistics show that what motivates giving isn’t cold logic, but emotion, and more specifically, belief in you and your impact on the community.

How do you nurture your donors’ belief in your mission and impact? In short, make time throughout the year to tell your organization’s stories to your donors. Instead of relying on data or aggregate impact, gather anecdotes from your staff, volunteers and those you serve in order to build up an organizational archive of success stories.

For example, a Steier Group client in California ran a volunteer-based counseling service for families experiencing homelessness. A few years ago, this organization helped a woman in need find an affordable apartment and a steady job so she could begin to rebuild her life. This woman was so grateful that she began to volunteer for the organization and provide the same services that she herself had used in the past. This is a true success story – as this organization fulfilled its mission, one of the people they served began to serve others. I was pleased to learn that this client sought the woman’s permission to tell her story to donors and charitable foundations to secure further financial support. This woman’s story touched upon the themes of mission fulfillment and difference making, and donors responded in kind.

As a nonprofit leader, you may consider yourself a change-maker, a manager or a strategic thinker. I would challenge you to think of yourself as the organization’s chief storyteller. Partner with your staff and volunteers and create opportunities to tell stories that focus on your mission and impact. This may involve inviting a few current and prospective donors to coffee to share your hopes and dreams for the future, or creating a short video presentation where those you serve tell their stories. If you focus on the human impact you have on your community, your donors will be motivated to give.

If you need help telling your story and sharing your vision for the future, the Steier Group would be happy to assist. Our team of campaign managers, graphic designers and videographers are happy to partner with you inspire support from your donors. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions regarding donor recognition or the capital campaign services of the Steier Group.

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