Five Strategies that Will Motivate Donors

How do you motivate your donors to give? It’s a question I get asked a lot.

Especially with the numbers of donors in decline, we have to do a better and better job at fundraising.

If fewer people are giving, our appeals need to be spot-on. They need to nail the right approach and tone, so that you can motivate donors to give generously.

Whether you are raising money in a capital campaign, a major gifts drive, leadership annual fund, digital or direct mail appeals – these factors ALL play a part in motivating your donors to give and keep giving.

1. Motivate Donors with “You” Language.

No matter how much we talk about using the word “you” to create donor-centered fundraising, I think you can always do it better.

The more you talk to the donor in personal terms like “you” – the closer she feels to your work.

Make all your communications all about the donor and not about you or your fabulous organization.

This effort is NOT intuitive.

And it’s not easy either. But you can do it!

Takeaway: Look at your fundraising materials, and circle the “you” words. Add more of them!

2. Use an Emotional Appeal.

There’s an old saying that “emotion drives action, while logic leads to conclusions.”  We see over and over that the giving decision is an emotional one.

Donors all have unique stories. They have big hearts. And they have reasons for wanting to give to your specific cause.

When you appeal to the donor’s emotions, you awaken their heart-felt internal story. And they are more generous.

Takeaway: Add drama to your fundraising communications!

3. Motivate Donors by Adding Credibility.

In our consulting practice, there’s always an important moment that I call the “C-Conversation.”

I sit down with my client, and we have a thoughtful discussion about how to add credibility to their pitch, their appeals, to their capital campaign.

One good way to add credibility is with peer endorsements.

Can you get a local celebrity to sign your appeal letters or join your campaign committee? Can you line up endorsements from credible partners? They make a difference!

Or add awards, or certificates, or even links to your financial reports. These all give your donor more comfort.

Takeaway: What can YOU do to add credibility to your website, your appeals and your cause?

4. Motivate Your Donors by Engaging Them All Year Long.

I’ll never forget when this million-dollar donor lady looked down at me and said archly, “We give our money where we give our time.”

Wow, that statement made an impact.

Clearly we needed to get these donors more involved!

If your donors don’t jump to action when you shout, “please give!” there’s probably a good reason.

It may be because you ignored them all year long.

Takeaway: Motivate donors by involving and engaging them, in between asks. Make them feel like insiders – before you ask!

5. Warm them up before the ask.

Here’s a great story: One of our clients held a Thankathon before they sent out their annual appeals. Some of their uncertain board members hesitantly volunteered to join in and make calls.

It turned out that one gentleman who received a thank you call from the board member was so impressed that he send a $10,000 check the next week – without even receiving the appeal.

Our hesitant board member was shocked – but completely thrilled.

Takeaway: Warm up your donors! Try a Thankathon before you launch your fall appeal campaign!

Bottom Line – How to Motivate Donors to Give

Use these 5 strategies to infuse new energy in your fundraising. You’ll see better results, I know!