How to Motivate Casual Charity Supporters

Newscaster Charity Digital look at how to convert casual supporters and lapsed donors into committed advocates for a charity’s cause.

How to motivate donors to give is an ongoing challenge for fundraisers. And with the numbers of donors still in decline, charities have to be seen to be more imaginative in their job of fundraising.

There may be reasons why existing donors, or those who had previously donated, have also not contributed over time; it could be from their financial constraints or change in personal circumstance; even simply a lack of connection with an organisation can be a reason.

If it is seen that less people are giving, then charities’ appeals should be more focused; getting that perfect tone and approach to motivate that donor to give generously.

But whether it’s through a capital campaign, a gifts or annual fund drive, even by mailshot or digital appeals; whichever approach is being used, there are various aspects a charity can consider motivating a donor to give and keep giving.

The Language of YOU
Charities should consider making their communications about the donor and not all about their great organisation.

Donors are more likely to contribute if they can see themselves in a leading place within a charity’s story; so why not make the donor the hero of that story?

It’s about impact. Everyone should know by now what the charity is doing to make a difference - they are not the hero. But they are the way for the hero to progress through the story.

People want to know that they are the reason and the cause of the impact that they want to see happen, as well as make a difference and change lives.

So, if a charity talks to the donor in personal terms like “you”, the closer they would feel to that charity’s work and be more likely to give.

The Emotional Appeal
Time and time again, the decision to give is an emotional one.

Donors themselves all have their own stories and have big hearts; they have their unique reason for wanting to give or contribute to a charity.

When creating a fundraising plan, one of the things a charity can think about is an approach or plan to reveal the strong emotions held by that potential donor.

There’s nothing in the rules to say a charity can’t use a case study, or a real-life story of someone’s journey from misfortune to success; if a charity can tap into a donor’s emotions, they can cause more action. If they cause more action, they’ll raise more money.

And when a charity appeals to the donor’s emotions, they can awaken that donor’s heart-felt internal story, and so can become more generous to a charity’s cause.

Credibility = Trust
Does a charity’s donor believe the organisation can achieve its mission?
Does a donor know their money will reach the community that charity is supporting?

Whatever a donor’s motivation, they won’t give unless they are confident that their money will be used effectively. In that respect, there are ways a charity can increase their credibility.

They can talk about how much of a donation goes to services, and the value that service provides, or the number of people whose lives would be changed by their work.

Again, stories can demonstrate a charity’s impact. We love stories, so telling a person’s transformation story can be more effective than talking about a charity’s mission.

Case studies about a charity’s successes, and even the work yet to be done, can also add credibility to a charity’s cause.

It is a Year-long Effort, not Just for the Holidays
It may be obvious, but it does pay for charities to get donors more involved – and possibly the hardest part of a fundraisers job!

But if a donor doesn’t jump to action when they hear the call “please give!” there’s probably a good reason – and it may simply be because they’ve been ignored all year long.

As mentioned above, it’s about the donor, not the charity. It’s about the people being helped and about the person giving the money to make that happen.

By allowing a future donor to feel good about donating, keeping their attention, showing them the impact of the money they give; it can help that donor understand the value that they’re helping to provide.

A charity can motivate donors by involving and engaging them, in between asks. It can make them feel like insiders to the charity’s cause – and that’s even before they are asked to give!

Say ‘Thank you’, then Ask
Given that fundraising is an on-going exercise, it pays to ‘warm up’ donors first before a charity does anything else. By starting to reconnect with them, this would make sure a donor feels happy and engaged to that charity and their cause.

There’s nothing wrong with thanking a previous donor and honouring them for their support, long before they have been asked for another gift.

If a charity takes the time to appreciate a donor before they ask for another contribution, the donor is much more likely to keep that organisation on their list of favoured causes.

And so, the donor would remember that good cause happily when their appeal shows up next time around - because that charity reached out and engaged with them.

Newscaster Charity Digital talk about these aspects and more in their guidance to convert casual supporters and lapsed donors into committed advocates for a charity’s cause.

From finding and engaging casual supporters to offering various flexible donation options, they show how charities can effectively meet the demands of the moment and boost their fundraising.

To read the guidance, visit the Charity Digital website.