The best place to begin your creative planning for any fundraising project is in the hearts and minds of your audience. This is especially true if you need to motivate someone to take an action that is even slightly inconvenient. It’s critical to understand why people give.
Direct mail writers have long known, for example, that letters emphasizing the emotional interests of their readers will always out-perform any communication that begins by placing too much emphasis on the organization sending the letter.
Our entire company knows these “you-oriented” appeals are far more effective. We know what motivates people to donate, sign a petition, or help in any other way. We’ve tested and verified effective messaging across channels.
So, finding out what your donors most value about your mission is always a top priority. And we do that by asking them and monitoring what generates the best response to the wide variety of stimuli we place before them.
It’s important to also remember that your donors have their own long list of reasons for supporting or not supporting your organization – beyond anything you may say in your next online message or mailing.
Very powerful memories, fears, aspirations, and emotional priorities were established long before they supported your organization. It’s a core part of who they are and want to be and why people give.
They have made a conscious commitment to support the most important priorities in their life. And this is regardless of whether your last message resonated with them or not. It’s also why your most loyal supporters will donate to both simple technique-based campaigns and more complex mission-driven campaigns.
Humans are social creatures. We’ve survived over the centuries by taking care of one another.
The more fervently people support their favorite causes, the more likely they define themselves by whom they support. Generosity and participation can be a source of fulfillment and hope. And that’s an important reason behind why people give.
Our desire to help others has known physiological and chemical roots – and obvious emotional benefits.
People make an instant connection to a hungry child, an abused puppy, or a disenfranchised voter. And they feel good about lending their support to overcome very visible and tangible challenges.
The people who support America’s nonprofits want to help. They are often looking for meaningful ways to take part – and it’s our job to extend those opportunities.
One of Avalon’s specialties is knowing how to motivate donors through more nuanced and complex messaging to connect them with your cause. The more we understand their deep emotional connections and desire to do good deeds, the happier our supporters will be.
In a way, they have chosen your organization and remain committed to your mission because it also helps them to feel better about themselves.
Your work reinforces the image of how much more like-minded individuals can do when we come together. The more you respect and remain thankful for their commitment, the more they will continue to delight in your accomplishments.
NEXT: Tapping into the Memories & Motivations of Donors in Your Online Strategies