Why Do Your Donors Give?

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Karen Eber Davis at www.kedconsult.com says that studies show that “donors give for a handful of common reasons including giving back, making a difference and because they were asked. Beyond these generic concepts, if you seek to grow your donations, you need to identify the primary reason why your donors give to you.”

When you meet with a donor, talk to them on the telephone or communicate with them by mail or Email, everything you say to a donor should be based on why they want to give to your nonprofit. Karen uses an orchestra to illustrate three different primary reasons why donors might give.

The first is the “me donor” that donates because of what the nonprofit has done for them. The donor might enjoy the arts or appreciate the college education they got, and donate because of the benefit they got or get from “giving back” to that kind of nonprofit.

A second type is the “you donor” that gives because they might want to help someone else. They might not enjoy the classical music themselves, but know of someone that benefitted greatly from the services that that person received from a nonprofit similar to yours

A third type is the “us donor” that gives because they believe that their community, in order to be a good community, should have the resources that your nonprofit provides (e.g. our community should have a college, an orchestra, a food bank, a clinic, etc.).

Karen suggests that when you have an initial meeting with a prospective donor, you might, at an appropriate point, ask if the donor has any personal experience with the type of service that your nonprofit offers. If they don’t seem to be a “me donor”, you might later ask if they know of anyone else that might have benefited from the kind of service that you offer.  If being a “you donor” doesn’t resonate, you might later test whether they have stronger feelings for the community’s need for your nonprofit.

Once you know your donors primary reason for donating, your efforts to develop that donor will be more effective if you focus your communications on how your nonprofit is fulfilling that donor’s primary reason. You might even introduce the donor to other donors that have the same primary reason to donate, and encourage them to collaborate to do even more for your nonprofit.

You can see Karen’s 7 minute video on “Why do your donors give you money” at: http://www.kedconsult.com/uncategorized/nonprofits-why-do-your-donors-give-you-money/3654/

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County. www.ECofOC.org