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Donor motivation provides key to fundraising success

By June 3, 2014January 13th, 2022Steier Tips

In the fundraising world, the phrase “knowing your donors” goes well beyond remembering how many children they have, where they attended school and when they celebrate birthdays.

Such biographical information, however, remains important. Be sure to send your donors cards on their birthdays and ask about their alma mater whenever you see them.

The reality is, knowing your donors also means identifying where their passions lie. What causes do they support – and why. Determine what motivates them to give before you ask them to give.

Experts identified five types of donor motivation that cause people to act:

  • People like to be recognized for their actions. A sure sign for these types of donors is whether they have plaques and certificates hanging on their walls. Mention naming opportunities to these prospects.
  • Some donors avoid the limelight. Ask these donors for anonymous gifts. They also prefer to help behind the scenes, provided it’s meaningful work. Give this type of person a task, but don’t micro-manage.
  • Others are motivated to act because they like the rewards that come with it. Ask them to lead a team of volunteers to gather prizes for your auction – and be sure to give the winning team some kind of reward.
  • Some people enjoy being part of a group. They take pleasure in working with people. They want to have fun. Ask these people to coordinate the celebration when your capital campaign hits goal.
  • Some donors focus solely on an organization’s mission. Be sure to routinely share success stories with them. Ask them for advice on how your organization can best provide service; then, ask for a gift.

When thinking about donor motivation it’s important to manage and recognize the very obvious aspects of a donor’s profile such as children, birthdays, etc. … but try to think about your donors on a deeper level. Pay attention to their personality and consider how they have responded in various scenarios when asked for support. Understanding the subtleties of donor motivation can have a significant impact on the willingness of your donors to support you, and their long term retention.

If you have any questions regarding the Steier Tips or the professional services provided by the Steier Group, I encourage you to contact me at any time.