Why do donors give to nonprofits?  

As a fundraiser, it is important to discover why your donors give to your nonprofit s as well as all the other philanthropic organizations they support. Learning about their motivations can provide your donors with a more relationship-focused experience and further your organization’s goals.    

According to Jerry PanasMega Gifts, there some universal reasons a donor gives to an organization. These reasons can be used to build out your donor strategy and relationship building.  

Belief in your nonprofit’s mission 

The number one reason that a donor gives is the belief in the mission of your organization.  

Strategy: This is where storytelling is very effective in donor communication. A compelling story will speak to those who truly believe in your mission and could even pull prospective donors into believing. Donors who feel a connection to your mission will want to give again and again.   

Feeling responsible for your community

Donors care about their community and want to see it thrive. This reason for giving is tied to the idea of civic pride. They are proud of where they come from and want to give money in order to further your mission in that area.  

Strategy: If your organization is national or international, you can focus on the transformational changes you are making in that donor’s general area. Showing the changes in their community will resonate with donors who feel community responsibility is a top reason to donate.  

Fiscal stability of your nonprofit organization 

You have to keep the lights on. Your donors know this and want to contribute to the stability of your organization. This is largely tied to their belief in your mission. Some donors would rather donate to a general fund rather than a specific project to let the organization put the funds toward what’s most critical.  

Strategy: Urgency can be used to pull donors into donation; however, you do not want to make donors think your organization is fiscally in trouble. You want to show your donors how fiscally responsible your organization is and that donating to a general fund is an investment into the longevity of your organization. Transparency is key.  

Regard for Your People 

Giving is largely relational. Donors look at your staff as an extension of your organization. If your gift officers and volunteers are professional and show commitment to your organization, donors will be more likely to build affinity for your organization.   

Strategy: Relationships matter both with low-level donors and major gift donors. For low-level donors, think about who is signing your donor communication. Is it more compelling from the president of the organization or a gift officer?  

Building major donor relationships is more complex and will take time.

If done correctly, these relationships can build affinity for your gift officer, and donors will not only want to see your organization succeed, but also their gift officer. 

Understanding why donors give to nonprofits is essential in understanding your donors. Want to learn more about your donors? Check out the Julep.