The Psychology of Giving

The million-dollar question that we all wish we had the perfect answer to: why do donors give? The truth is that donor and organizational advocates give a gift for a plethora of reasons. Whether a supporter is motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, we know that they give because it makes them feel good about making a positive change in the world. Our job at RKD Alpha Dog is to help our partners communicate that message and feeling.
Giving Empowerment

When a person makes a gift to a nonprofit, they are doing so out of trust that the organization will use that money to better serve a community need. Someone once said, “People don’t give to causes, people give to lives with causes”. At the end of the day, there are many ways to give and there are different ways your organization can receive monetary funds. What matters the most is the donor relationship and the feeling of empowerment they get when they support your cause. So how do you make sure they get that warm fuzzy feeling?

Raconteur, Anecdotist, Narrator

Dust off your creative writing skills. Each story you collect from those you help, from your staff, and from your board members can be used to paint a picture for your supporters. Tell stories with vivid imagery that cannot be ignored. Start your story with the main character and establish their needs and goals. Inform your audience what major problem is standing in your subject’s way, such as poverty, homelessness, or abuse. How did your organization defeat the problem? How can your donors help you accomplish similar success throughout the community? People donate because of an emotional connection and then they justify the donation with facts. Mix in statistics that support your cause throughout the story in a natural way. “The Humane Society cares for nearly 26,000 animals each year who suffer abuse or are abandoned like Mittens."

An Ongoing Progression

Storytelling is not a one-and-done thing. It should happen over and over and over again throughout the year. Your stories will change and evolve depending on who you are trying to reach and what your organizational goals are. One of the best ways to have content is to diligently ask your staff, constituents and board members for stories. What did they see this week that impacted them personally or how did they see your nonprofit’s impact come to fruition? Take time to improve your interviewing skills.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination” – Carl Rogers
Your furry friend,


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