What the Georgians taught us about fundraising
Turn your first-time donors into committed supporters by building relationships that connect with people on an emotional level. Emotion drives decision making, so develop your fundraising strategy by demonstrating the impact of your supporter’s actions
“We are all prompted by the same motives, all deceived by the same fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure.”
Dr Samuel Johnson, 13 October 1750
Samuel Johnson was an English writer, poet and literary critic. In October 1750, he published an essay on biography writing.
Johnson told us we could learn a lot from biographies because they were accounts of people’s experiences. And because we all feel the same emotions, biographies can tell us why people behave the way we do.
In short, Johnson knew that emotions drive people’s actions and decisions. And the emotions that motivated people’s decisions in 1750 still motivate people today.
Connect with your donor’s feelings
Attracting new donors to your cause is vital. And without attracting new supporters, you’re never going to be able to grow.
But don’t let the effort that you put into reaching out to new supporters go to waste. To develop a sustainable fundraising strategy, you need to keep hold of the people who already give to you too.
Like Dr Johnson taught us, people justify their decisions by how something makes them feel. So to meaningfully engage with people, you need to connect with them emotionally.
We might say; “It seemed like the right thing to do”, “My heart wasn’t in it” or “I felt like I needed to do something”. It’s not often that personal behaviour is justified by quoting percentages, numbers or statistics. When was the last time someone said their support was based on a return on their investment? And how often do people say it’s because they believe in what you’re doing?
It’s essential you address emotional motivations to attract new donors and to keep your current supporters. Make sure people are able to justify their support emotionally. How does helping your organisation deliver its mission make someone feel? Tell donors how their support enables you to do good, help others, or make a difference to people’s lives.
Building emotional connections
Building relationships with your donors begins with excellent stewardship. Make sure you thank the people who give to you immediately. So automate thank you emails or pick up the phone and let first-time donors know how their donation will help you.
Further down the line, make sure you let your supporters know what outcomes you’ve achieved. Send them a thank you card in the mail, an email newsletter of your successes, or simply share outcomes across social media with your supporters.
Let your supporters know that their contributions are important. Make sure they know, and feel, that they’re making a difference. Connect their actions to the outcomes that matter.
Maximise your fundraising success
Find out how eTapestry, the fundraising solution designed for growing charities, can help you gain a deeper understanding of your supporters.
Build stronger supporter relationships, improve your fundraising and deliver your mission with eTapestry.