Guest Post: Psychology Secrets Every Fundraiser Should Know

Secret #1: The Eyes Have It!

Have you ever noticed how the eyes on a cereal box follow you down the aisle? It’s not an accident! Research by Cornell university has shown that we are more likely to buy cereals that make eye contact with us. The eye contact improves sales!

The lesson for fundraisers? Make sure the photos on your direct mail, emails, newsletter and annual reports are making eye contact with the reader! No artistic shots of people gazing into the distance.

WG_eye contact

Lesson #2: Scarcity Motivates!

When human beings perceive that a resource is limited – they want it more. Psychologists call this the scarcity principle. When people are able to anticipate the regret of not taking advantage of a limited time offer, they are more likely to act.

The lesson for fundraisers: put deadlines special offers – a special window of time for matching gifts, or the approaching end of the year can be powerful factors to motivate a donor.


Lesson #3: The Consistency Principle

Simply put, people like to act and behave in a way that is consistent with how they have acted and behaved in the past. A Princeton study found that asking people if they hypothetically would be willing to volunteer before asking them to volunteer dramatically increased the number of people willing to volunteer.

The lesson for fundraisers: Every year at Christmas the SPCA sends me an ornament to hang on my Christmas tree that says I support the SPCA – right before their year-end pack. It’s no coincidence! Prime your donors with ways they can show their support for your cause: signing a petition, sharing something on social media, a bumper sticker for their car. Referencing a donor’s past giving, or that they are a monthly donor are other ways to take advantage of the consistency principle. Establish that supporting your organization is something they consistently do.


Want more psychology secrets to help you raise more money? Join Leah Eustace and Scott Fortnum as they take you inside the mind of the donor in their June 17th webinar: “The Psychology of Giving – What makes donors tick & WHY they give!”

What if you could spend a couple of hours inside your donor’s head?

What if you knew how she thinks and what she thinks?

Would you become a different fundraiser?

You know you would. 

Get inside a donor’s brain and discover neuroscience secrets to raise more money.

For only $24.99 you can sign up for this webinar:

  • Find out how emotion overrules reason.
  • Learn how impulses are created.
  • Discover how lightning-fast thoughts and images can drive decisions.

You’ll come away with new tools and a new donor understanding.

You’ll never, ever see your donors the same way again.

Seats are limited – sign up now!

Can’t make it on the 17th? Don’t worry – we will record the webinar and send it to you to watch as many times as you like! Sign up to save yourself a spot.

Leah Eustace, ACFRE, is Chief Idea Goddess at Good Works. Scott Fortnum, ACFRE, is the Executive Director, The Living City Foundation. They are both international sought after speakers, thinkers and #DonorLove experts.

Our last webinar sold out! Don’t miss your chance to get inside your donor’s brain!


Written by Rory Green



Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:




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9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Psychology Secrets Every Fundraiser Should Know

  1. Pingback: Fundraising Friday | June 12, 2015 | Pamela Grow

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