- Fri, June 22 2012
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
This, according to a study written up in the Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday. The Cygnus Donor Survey found in a survey of 15,000 donors that just crying need won’t do it in 2012. Fundraisers need to “do something wonderful” that will carry a message to donors that the charity is fulfilling its mission, says the study’s author, Penelope Burk.
I always look at surveys of donors with a dose of skepticism. What people say they feel and do with respect to giving doesn’t necessarily reflect their true actions. But these results ring true to me. It’s not enough to say times are tough and you need money:
Middle-age donors are demanding results from nonprofits in exchange for their gifts, the study found. They want to be offered a clear idea of where the money is going, and they want to know that the charity is the best of all organizations working on that mission. Donors under age 35, while also concerned about results, are interested in building a community of like-minded givers: They want to get their friends and family to support a cause they believe in. They are also more apt to give to new causes.
The bottom line: The same thing I always say on this blog. Saying you need money is not fundraising. Fundraising recognizes that giving is a person, emotion and social act. Tell people about the exact change they can effect—and how they can rally support for it. That’s fundraising.
Among the other findings:
-Donors hate being asked for money over and over. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop asking. But be sure you’re thanking - and reporting on impact - at least twice as much.
-Young donors say they plan to give more this year. But you need to reach them digitally. “They often don’t read fundraising mailings—because they’re the least likely of all adults to get mail. They also don’t get many telemarketing calls, because they use their cellphones rather than landline phones.”
-The number one source for checking out a charity? The charity’s website. This backs up the Money for Good research. Make sure your website is fantastic. It’s the single most important thing you do online.
-People plan their giving - but still give impulsively when something moves them. That could mean you!
-Recurring giving gets dissed in the study, but I disagree. The study said recurring givers are less likely to become major donors. But is that because of the nature of recurring giving or because charities don’t do a good job heaping praise and reports on impact to those donors? I’m a recurring giver to a great charity - but I don’t get thanked every month.
The full study is here.