How to Appeal to Donors


Do Your

Donors Want?





There is psychology involved in fundraising that your club or organization should be aware of. Studies have shown that people who are likely to give money to nonprofits generally do so because they feel they get some “value” from giving.

Some of the reasons people donate to nonprofit organinzations:

To assuage a fear - People may fear that if your organization doesn't receive their help something bad will happen.  While you never want to prey upon people’s fears or exaggerate their fears, knowing that people react in this way can help you target your fundraising efforts and can help you understand why some donors give generously.

To make a contribution to society - Many people feel that by giving to a nonprofit they are making a valuable addition to society. This is absolutely correct - nonprofits do the work that many working people simply do not have the time or the resources to do themselves. Donors can contribute to this work through volunteering or through money donations. Your organization may want to emphasize how donor money will be used to a make a real difference in people’s lives.

Tax deductions - The fact that many gifts to non-profit organizations are tax-deductible is often an extra bonus for many donors. No one likes to pay more taxes than they absolutely have to. For this reason, you will want to tell your donors when their gifts can be tax deductible and ensure that they get the receipts they need to make their tax deduction claims.  

A chance to win -  Charitable lotteries and charity casinos are becoming more and more popular. These events draw not only donors who support a specific cause or group, but these fundraising efforts also draw people who simply wish to win a nice prize and also like the benefit of helping a charity while they get a chance to win. If you are running a lottery or raffle, you will want o emphasize to your donors their good chances of winning as well as the contributions they are making to your organization and society.

Emotional benefit - If you look at most successful fundraising campaigns, they generally appeal to the emotions rather than just the rational mind. Non-profits that raise money for international relief, for example, often show emotionally charged pictures of people who do not have the basics of life. Animal shelters often show saddening pictures of pets that have been abandoned. The idea is not to manipulate your donors, but rather to make sure that their emotions as well as their intellect understand the importance of your group’s cause. You likely developed or take part in your non-profit because you think that your group’s cause is an important one. You need to communicate to your donors why the cause is important on an emotional level so that they feel the importance of your non-profit, not just understand it.

Immortality - For a few people, donations are made in order to have a plaque or hospital wing dedicated to them. Some individuals like to be known as philanthropists. In many cases, these individuals are willing to offer larger sums of money in exchange for recognition of their gifts. Small organizations can also do things like this on a lesser scale. Something as small as buying a brick with their name on it can appeal to donors.

Products - Some people take part in fundraising because they want whatever products or services a non-profit is offering through their fundraising efforts. If you hold a book sale to raise money, for example, you can expect book lovers to show up, whether they want to support your non-profit specifically or not. If you have useful goods or services you are offering as part of your fundraising, you will want to emphasize this to potential donors.

Now that you have a sense of why people become donors and supportors you can use this knowledge for fundraising success.