Different Ways to Encourage Charitable Giving

When people are looking to give of their time, money, and possessions, they naturally want to use these resources to their fullest. They want to accomplish something meaningful in the world, simple as that. And they’ll choose to give to a cause that realistically allows them to be a part of good change. So, how do you convince a generous giver to support your mission? And how do you retain donations year by year? Both aspects are necessary to maintain consistent giving, and there are practical and emotion-centric strategies to achieve this. Read about the different ways to encourage charitable giving in our guide to getting and keeping donations.

Making a Donation

Connect Giving with Purpose

So many personal expenses are geared towards necessities like food, transportation, clothes, and housing. When someone chooses to give money or items, they’re giving what they have left over rather than using it for what they personally want. Because of this, people often want their giving to be connected to purpose and personal fulfillment. There are two ways you can encourage people to give to charity that promote purpose: making it a challenge and tying their giving to a desirable personal quality.

Making the donation process a challenge establishes a scenario for people who donate to grow and experience something valuable. Allowing marathon runners to fundraise as they train is one common way to create a challenge scenario. As they increase their miles, they appeal to others and donate themselves because they find meaning in making the resolution to run, losing weight, getting stronger, persevering, and a whole host of other things. That meaning drives their donations, because it becomes attached to whatever cause they’re partnered with. If someone feels that they’re getting something out of an experience, they’re much more likely to contribute. And this is especially true when a challenge scenario is provided, because it’s difficult for people to set up their own parameters for accountability for a difficult task. This principle applies to races, weight loss challenges, and even one-time challenges.

Another way to encourage people to give to charity is to closely associate the charity mission with beneficial personal qualities like courage, empathy, integrity, kindness, and justness. By fostering these values, you can help people see their giving as a way to give to important initiatives and become better people in doing so. Giving, and giving repeatedly, then feels more like a journey to fulfillment, and is like committing yourself to running a marathon. Though donations are attained by finding ways that the giver can benefit from donating, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your means help people find purpose as they aid a cause, everyone is better off.

Paint A Multi-Layered Narrative

Whether your mission impacts humans or animals, there’s a story to tell there. To draw people in, you should tell why your service is uniquely needed, how you’ve brought about change so far, and how you’d like to help in the future. To capture the scope and particularity of your projects, you should build these narratives around the population you’re assisting. Discussing the larger population gives people a bird’s eye view of a project and helps them see just how much impact a cause has relative to other uses for their money. For example, if hundreds of impoverished children can do school work because they’ve been given wholesale school supply kits through a charity, weaving this into how you tell the story of your work would attract potential givers.

Practical Strategies

There are some additional ways to get people’s attention. You can appeal to businesses or clubs to drive up fundraising. People are more generous when there’s social value to giving, beyond the benefit of personal fulfillment. And if others in a group donate, this models behavior that peers seek to emulate. As a group is engaged with your organization, they exert positive peer pressure that holds people accountable to donating consistently. You can also promote your volunteering options to get people in the door. Those who want to serve your cause in one way are more likely to give as well, especially as they get invested in the nitty-gritty of your work. One creative way to integrate volunteering is through micro-volunteering. Micro-volunteering involves small objectives people can complete remotely (such as planting a tree somewhere), and it’s becoming popular with younger volunteers. This can expand your base and potentially lead to more engagement.

Continuing to Donate

Follow Up

Finding generous givers is vital, but it’s perhaps more important to retain those who have already given. It’s less costly to keep a donor than to find a new one, after all. Follow up with your givers on notable giving anniversaries and holidays to catch these donors in a giving mood while reminding them of their relationship with you. Thank you notes one month after an initial donation is helpful, and a one-year update letter on work done shows the progress you’ve made. Framing it as a relationship is important. You want to make donors feel like they’re not just supporting your work, but also partnering with you to make your work possible. This could even give them a sense that you accomplished more because they were on board. For all these reasons, keeping in touch encourages people to trust you again with a donation.

Make Donations Low-Friction

For all of the donors’ goodwill, if there are obstacles to the actual giving process, people are less likely to give repeatedly or even give in the first place. To eliminate obstacles, make your online giving modules as streamlined as possible. This means requiring fewer information fields, simplifying a donor’s options, and avoiding jargon that would scare away someone unfamiliar with your service area. For future donating, you can store their data, including their payment information, on your website so a return log-in is easy. You can even ask if they would like to donate the same amount. Make sure your website is secure, though, and you ensure users of its security—some people may be wary of a charity storing their personal data. If you follow up with your donors and ensure they have easy means to donate again, you’ll retain them and keep your project funding consistent and accomplish as much good as possible.


Different ways to encourage charitable giving

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