Why Do Donors Give to Your Organization?

Ever wonder what motivates your donors? If you are like the average nonprofit, here are 10 reasons donors give (and 3 reasons why they might stop):


  1. Mission. Donors give because they believe in your cause or mission. How do you inspire this type of donor? Make sure you clearly communicate your cause!
  2. Ego: Yes, some donors give because it boosts their ego or at least it makes them feel good.
  3. Care: Many donors genuinely care for other people and want to help them.
  4. Impact: Donors give to organizations that they believe are making a significant contribution, and therefore know that their gift will make a difference. Do you know what type of impact you are making? And are you communicating this with your donors?
  5. Faith: Many donors give because of religious reasons. Similar to “mission” above, donors want to help others and will give to causes that share their religious persuasion.
  6. Tax Advantages: Charitable giving is a deductible expense and one that many donors utilize.
  7. Emotion: Some donors are compelled to give because they read a powerful story or saw a pitiful picture of a hungry child that stirred their emotions. Don’t underestimate the power of your stories.
  8. Peer Pressure: Donors give because their friends give. How do you harness this? Make sure to ask for referrals of your current donors and use social networks to your advantage.
  9. Personal Reasons: Donors are compelled to give to people they know, or causes that affect them personally, such as a GoFundMe account for a grandchild suffering from childhood leukemia.
  10. Trust: Donors give because they have faith in your organization and believe that you will use their money wisely.

Why do some donors stop giving?

  1. Financial Constraints: Donors may experience changes in their finances which means they are compelled to reduce their charitable giving.
  2. Lack of Appreciation: If donors do not feel like their gift matters, they may stop giving.
  3. Lack of Impact: Donors may initially be compelled by your cause, but if they don’t see that their gift is making a substantial impact over the long-term, they may drop you for another cause.

Note: These findings are taken from several helpful articles, including one that cites a study involving 819 donors.

So, how do you communicate impact and appreciation to your donors? Join me for a webinar hosted by the Nonprofit Learning Lab where I will present on this topic! The webinar will be held at 11:00 MST on Thursday, September 5th. Learn more:

Join me for the webinar!


Konrath, S. and Handy, F. (2017). 5 reasons why people give their money away plus 1 why they don’t. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/5-reasons-why-people-give-their-money-away-plus-1-why-they-dont-87801

Network for Good (2019). 7 reasons why donors give. Network for Good. https://www.networkforgood.com/nonprofitblog/7-reasons-why-donors-give/


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