What Motivates Donors?

Robin Noah

Robin Noah

This past week I had 15 solicitation letters from 10 organizations.  Some were what I call repeaters.  These are organizations I have sent a donation within the last few years. Seven (7) of them included a “gift”.  Usually something I do not need, especially address labels.   Seldom do the mailers motivate me to give again; however, I was intrigued by the act of motivating a donor to give again so I conducted a brief search on donor motivation.

I found the results of a survey conducted by the Software Advice Company. They surveyed 2,833 American adults on how they want organizations to engage them following a donation and ended up with some valuable, actionable data. Here are some of the takeaways

Donors like to be thanked.

  • The most popular choice was a personalized letter in the mail, preferred by 46%.  Almost half of respondents wanted their thank you by snail mail. The next most popular options were email (35%) and a social media post (11%). A phone call, however, was preferred by only 8% of those surveyed

Most of those surveyed want a nonprofit to wait at least 7 months before asking for another donation. Follow up with a thank you and impact stories in the meantime.

  • Although 21% were comfortable with being asked after 3 to 6 months, only 16% wanted nonprofits to ask less than three months later. While you certainly shouldn’t wait to send a thank you, it seems that nonprofits might fare better by waiting at least seven months to make their second ask.

They also want to see how their donations were used within an organization and the resulting outcomes.

  • Success stories serve as proof that you are an effective organization. When a donor makes that first donation, it is as if they are allowing you to audition for their support. You will only get the role if you show you can make a difference, when given the opportunity.

Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for compelling impact stories to feature in your follow-up communications. While success stories were the update of choice for 60% of those surveyed, the next most popular updates were the latest news from the nonprofit (17%) and upcoming events (15%).

(Excerpted From https://www.classy.org/online-fundraising-company)