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How Can Your Organization Inspire New Donors to Give?

July 14, 2015

inspirenewLast week we kicked off our series of five trainings to get local organizations ready for the 2015 Giving Challenge.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has enjoyed the enthusiasm and anticipation shared among our nonprofit friends as we explain the many opportunities available to engage new and existing supporters.

We talked about some pretty incredible news. The Patterson Foundation will support nonprofits in the 2015 Giving Challenge in two ways: with a 1:1 match for each new online donor’s contributions – up to $250 per donor, per organization–and with $35,000 in incentives for nonprofits that cultivate the highest totals of new online donors. (“New” donors are defined as those who didn’t give to your organization in last year’s Giving Challenge.)  There is no cap on the total dollars The Patterson Foundation will award.

Wow.

Inspiring new donors to give isn’t light work.

So how can nonprofits make this incredible opportunity a success? Start by considering all of the reasons people might be moved to give and how you can leverage the excitement of the Giving Challenge to convert them to donors.

In our Giving Challenge trainings, we’ve spent some time talking about this great piece from Network for Good’s Fundraising123.org site. How many of the motivators in “The Secret to Getting People to Give: 15 Reasons Why People Donate” can your organization use to build alignment with your cause on September 1 and 2? Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Someone I know asked me to give.
    Use the right people to share a personal appeal for the Giving Challenge with their circles of influence. If my best friend asks me to donate to her favorite cause, for instance, I’m much more likely to say yes than I would be if I received a random email solicitation from the organization.

  2. I feel emotionally moved by someone’s story.
    This is a tempting time to share the Giving Challenge logo with a “give to us” line.  That’s probably the least effective thing you can do. Consider the bank of inspiring stories you have about the difference your organization has made for one child, one veteran, one season ticket subscriber, one senior, one animal, etc. Use these stories!

  3. I want to change someone’s life.
    See #2. Tell a story about how your organization has changed a life–or can change a life–with the support of a donor. Evidence of the difference one donor can make is a big motivator.

  4. I believe supporting your cause is “in style.”
    Have you considered how your organization’s work relates to an important mission-centric issue that’s been in the news lately? Leverage that as you talk with people about how relevant it is to support what you’re accomplishing.

  5. I will have a good community image (or a good image for my business) if I give.
    This year we’re awarding grants to two nonprofits with the “Best Business Partnerships” in the Giving Challenge. What businesses in our community align with your organization’s values? Think of how they can expose your organization to new supporters AND how you can reinforce their brand positioning in the community as a great social steward.

  6. I want to be seen as a role model by giving.
    You can gain extra brownie points by encouraging people to use Facebook or Twitter to share that they made gifts to you during the Giving Challenge. It positions them as leaders and helps you reach entire circles of friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and others who are distinct from your nonprofit’s insiders.

  7. An emotion–like feeling fortunate or guilty or joy–has motivated me to give.
    When Ann Christiano visited us in January to talk about the power of stories, she also encouraged us to consider the full suite of emotions as we tell our stories. We’ve seen a lot of energy generated in past campaigns around humor, joy, inclusion, hope. How can you use these and other feelings to reach the soft side we all have that compels us to action?

Add to the list!

We’ll post more about this in the coming weeks and would love to add your thoughts and comments.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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