“In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet [their] needs, not because you have needs.”~ Kay Sprinkel Grace
Fundraising is about helping people connect their existing passion directly to your cause. It’s not about “convincing” them to give. It’s about helping them realize that they already care.
Most donors give from the heart. According to a research “if organizations want to raise money for a charitable cause, it is far better to appeal to the heart than to the head. Put another way, feelings, not analytical thinking, drive donations.”
Giving benefits donors’ health. Scientific studies show that “giving not only provides donors with a sense of purpose, but it also increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in our brains—leading to increased happiness.”
So it is essential that your organization have simple, emotionally compelling messages that are regularly shared with donors and the community. A story that touches the heart and makes a person feel good, will most likely inspire giving. Donors remain generous donors when their hearts are full and happy.
While we know it is far easier and cheaper to raise money from your current donors, it’s also good to engage new friends, alumni, and family into the organization’s giving community.
These folks are called non-donors, or as I like to call them, “not yet donors”.
So what is the difference between donors and non-donors and how do you engage and support their giving relationship with your organization?
A donor is "a person who donates something, especially money to a fund or charity.” They have been “asked” in a way that touches their heart, prompting an affirmative response.
According to nonprofit guru Jeff Brooks:
“Nearly everyone you communicate with when you raise funds is squarely in the donor category. These people donate!
They're always free to say no to any request, but they operate under this "deal": If you go to them with a compelling, meaningful and relevant reason to give, and if they agree with you, trust you and the time is right for them, they give.
When you ask, you become part of the donor's world — a place where love, empathy and self-empowerment combine with generosity to make the world and the donor better.
I can't think of any other relationship in the wider marketing world where the "buyer" and the "seller" are so perfectly aligned or where so much good accrues to both sides.
This is utterly liberating. You don't have to tiptoe and apologize around donors. You can be bold and joyful, and that always leads to stronger fundraising.”
In other words, most all people are donors. They give, just not to your organization. They are your “not-yet-donors”.
So how do we engage these “not-yet-donors”?
How do we inspire the passion in the “not-yet-donor” that helps them realize they want to help the cause?
- Remember . . . they are already donors, just not to your cause . . . yet.
- Believe deeply in your heart and head that donors matter.
- Genuinely respect and honor your donors and the difference that they make in the world. Don’t treat them like ATM machines.
- Make your “ask” about them, not you. This is not a one-night stand. Donors want to know you’ll be there in the “morning”.
- Show and tell the donors what’s in it for them. Demonstrate that good feeling a donor can receive from taking action. Be enthusiastic and real.
- Speak directly to the donors and their likes and interests. Connect with them. Find a way to build a relationship with them as you guide them into the donor family.
- Share stories regularly about how donors’ gifts are making a difference.
- Say “Thank You” a lot and mean it.
- Ask them for a specific amount to contribute to the cause. They need you to ask for exactly what you want. Be confident. Be direct. Be specific.
- Have fun!
* * *
Connect with these not-yet-donors via direct mail, email, social media and special events and, yes, even telefundraising.
“Telefundraising remains one of the most effective means of communications when attempting to convert supporters to donors. The practice enables a dialogue between nonprofits and their perspective donors, which can lay the foundation for engaged activists and consistent support and engagement.” (Gabe Raff)
Contact J. Milito & Associates today for help connecting you with your not-yet-donors.
You’ll be glad you did!