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Why Your Sustained Giving Program is Addictive

What makes humans happiest? Chocolate. Sex. Donating!?!

Turns out this may not be far from the truth. 

shutter-happyHarvard researchers did a study on the connection between happiness and giving. One of the things they found was that making a financial contribution made people happy, and happy people were more motivated to give. So those lovely folks who give to your organization are getting that amazing “feel-good” benefit from the pure act of giving.

So what’s stopping you from helping them experience that high again... and again... by asking them to donate again sooner?

Sounds to me like we have the the perfect ingredients to give your sustained giving program a boost. Because if humans are hard-wired to find pleasure in giving, then you, as fundraisers, should feel even more empowered when soliciting gifts. 

Too many organizations stop short of completing the full rotation of the giving cycle - sending one fundraising appeal throughout the course of a campaign (generally at the tail end) and not asking again until after that “feel-good” feeling has completely vanished. 

Contrary to the popular belief that donors should get a “rest period” between gifts, donors may actually be ready and willing to give a second - or third - time to recapture that feel-good feeling. The key is that you have to make the follow-up ask sooner than later.

So, when you’re planning your next fundraising campaign, think about regularly feeding your supporter’s giving addiction in these ways:

  • Write awesome thank you emails. Tone is everything here. While not every thank you email can or should tee up a donation ask, it can be a really strong set-up for certain audiences. Test this approach with your list to figure out how soon is too soon. You may be surprised to find that some donors may be willing to commit to an additional contribution or monthly giving sooner than expected.  
  • Create a welcome series to nurture your newest supporters via triggered emails. Some of the newest supporters to your list may also be donors. Use that knowledge to not just welcome them to your list, but to segment this group to receive a special series of welcome emails that explicitly ask for higher level or sustained giving. 
  • Sprinkle a few incentives into the mix. Why should recent donors choose to donate again right now? What’s in it for them? Make it timely. Make it a deal they don’t want to pass up. 

The key to making a quick follow-up ask is to readily identify a need, ideally through a story. Give your supporters a concrete example of how your organization is making a difference. The more you can paint a  picture of the good your work is doing, the easier it is for would-be donors to see how their gifts could make a difference.

Don’t take my word for it. Read The Feel-Good Phenomenon of Giving whitepaper to overcome your fundraising fears and ignite your supporter’s giving spirit.

Topics: Fundraising