Why do we give? | npENGAGE

Why do we give?

By on Jun 8, 2011


Amidst the hustle and bustle of working on new and exciting ways to fundraise, have you ever stepped back and just thought to yourself “Why do ‘we’ give?  Why do I give?” It is easy to get caught up in the next best thing in social media or the latest story for this month’s fundraising appeal.  With all the chaos that non-profit professionals juggle, it can also be easy to lose sight of the heart of the matter.  But, perhaps taking a moment to pause and do so could open up our eyes to a whole new fundraising “vision”.   By better understanding why people give and who donors are, we can better communicate with them.

While doing a little research recently, I came across several studies that looked deep into the matter of demographics:  what age group gives to whom, which ethnicity prefers giving to which types of non-profits, and the list goes on.  There are many numbers, theories and statistics floating around.   I started to think to myself, “OK, this is a lot of great information, but I think it could be looked at little simpler”.  What is the true heart of the matter? It’s your donors – who they are and what inspires them.  What are donors? People.  They are people like you and me, people affected in some way by a disease, or disaster, or financial circumstance.  While maybe not directly affected by misfortune, we all seem to know someone or somehow have been touched some issue that a non-profit organization strives to fix.  We have a connection, whether it be personally or just in our intrinsic nature to feel and care.  In Storytelling and the art of Email Writing, M+R put it simply, and I think best.  They say that we give for the following reasons:

It makes us happy.  Flat out, we just feel like “good people” when we give.

It makes us feel important.  Donating our money or time to the greater good makes us feel like we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves. And, that is a good feeling.

We want to be part of a success story.  Hey, if a horrible disease can be cured, who wouldn’t want to say they had something to do with it?

Others are giving.  It’s in our nature to want to jump on the bandwagon of something good.  While we may not think to give on our own, when we see others doing it – our friends, family, celebrities, etc. – we want to be a part of that too.

Taking a look at our core, our human nature to enjoy feeling happy, important, successful and communal, it is easy to understand why we give.  Understanding why we give can help better craft our interactions with our donors, our community.  Next time you are working on a fundraising appeal, keep these simple things in mind and remember that your donors are like you. People. Good people. After writing it, read your appeal outloud back to yourself.  Would you give?


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