Why People Give and How to Foster Their Generosity – Part Two

February 9, 2023

Part Two: Why People Give and How to Foster Their Generosity: Two-Part Blog Series

Last week, we uncovered four factors that inspire donors to give. With these in mind, we hope to expand your insights and empower you to connect with your donors’ greatest motivators. Today, we’ll share four more reasons that people give and provide tips along the way for tapping into these influences.

  1. They receive financial benefits

Most people give to charity primarily for the emotional return of knowing they’ve made a difference in the world. However, there is nothing wrong with claiming the financial benefits that accompany the support of nonprofit organizations. Grand Haven Area Community Foundation states that “close to 50% of charitable gifts are given in the month of December,” which, in addition to holiday giving, is due to the favorable tax benefits donors receive from giving to charity.

Additionally, Donor-Advised Funds (DAF), one of the fastest-growing giving channels, have gained vast popularity due to recent tax law changes. According to the 2020 DAF Report conducted by National Philanthropic Trust, 873,228 Donor-Advised Fund accounts held a total of $141.95 billion in assets in 2019. The benefit to donors who give through their Donor-Advised Fund is that they can donate and receive a tax deduction for their charitable giving while having the freedom to grant their funds at a later date. In the meantime, assets inside their fund grow tax-free.

“Financial benefits combined with emotional impact can be a powerful combination for fostering donor generosity,” says Summit Marketing’s Tammy Nigus. “Don’t neglect opportunities to remind donors of tax incentives or other benefits that provide them something tangible in return.”

  1. They trust your organization

It’s no secret individuals won’t donate to charity if they lack confidence their gifts are used wisely. Sadly, news stories on nonprofits that mismanage funds erode the public’s trust in all of them, leaving charities with the task of overcoming cynicism as well as instilling confidence. But if your nonprofit carries out its mission with honesty and integrity, building trust isn’t hard to do.

Being transparent with financial information by posting annual statements online is a vital first step. Yet while charts, graphs and statistics are important, even more motivating is communicating with donors the emotional impact of their gift.

This can be done through strong storytelling — sharing the triumph of a man who has overcome addiction, or a family displaced by disaster that now has safe shelter. Consistently allowing donors to “see” the good their gifts have done — in printed communications, on your website or through social media — kindles faith and confidence in your organization.

  1. They seek a sense of belonging

Like all humans, donors are looking for personal connections and rewarding experiences. They want to belong, and they seek out groups with similar values and priorities. That’s why campaigns like matching or challenge grants are so successful in encouraging donors to be part of a movement that makes a difference.

Other giving scenarios heighten this feeling of shared impact as well. In a recent study reported by Classy, researchers measured the giving rates as a campaign moved closer toward reaching a fundraising goal. They found the rate of contributions substantially increased as the project got closer to its financial target. They concluded that donors have a greater feeling of satisfaction when they join with others to help your campaign cross the finish line.

“Giving campaigns … online and offline events … food and clothing drives. Provide opportunities for people to come together in support of your organization,” Brian Smith Director of Engagement says. “Sharing a rewarding experience creates personal connections that cement donors to your nonprofit.”

  1. More than anything, they were asked!

In a study referenced in Psychology Today, 85% of respondents said the reason they gave was simply because someone asked them. Network for Good

Nonprofits and their fundraisers can never make the most of the other seven reasons for giving on this list without asking the fundamental question, “Will you give today?” People throughout our inner cities, suburban neighborhoods and rural communities alike have a deep desire to help their neighbors and are just waiting for the right organization to reach out to them with the right opportunity.

Just as important, don’t neglect to close the loop and express gratitude for their decision to choose your organization as the recipient of their financial support. Whatever their motivation for giving, your recognition, appreciation and love will continue to foster their generosity.

“Make it a practice to reach out to donors to learn why they give — through surveys, at events or even with personal calls. They will be honored that you asked, and sharing their stories creates inspiration for others to follow their example.”

– Director of Client Services Francie Hughes, Summit Marketing

Over the years our clients’ missions have truly become our mission. Our team of experienced and talented professionals work hard to deliver ongoing innovation, effective strategies and proven plans to help nonprofit organizations inform, engage, inspire and move prospects, volunteers and donors to take action to support nonprofits. Ask how we can help your organization foster the generosity of current and potential donors.