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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
SIGN UP NOW!

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Written by Rory Green

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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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**SPONSORED POST** Email maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com for more information about advertising on www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

Why I love what I do: reason #2

I’m reminded of why I love being a fundraiser in an educational setting every day of the week, but occasionally someone will engage me in a conversation about certain aspects of what I do, and a fire is lit inside me.  Just as I discussed in my first installment of “Why I love what I do”, it gets me excited to talk to people about how passionate I am about fundraising.  Getting excited about sharing with people what I love about what I do makes me even more excited to do it.  It’s a very happy cycle to get caught in.

So what’s another thing I love about what I do???  The fact that what I do seems to combine my passions together into one field of work.  For one thing, I love meeting new people and getting to know them – one-on-one (I’m an introvert, after all) – in a meaningful way.  I get to do that a lot as a fundraiser / alumni relations officer, and it’s a pleasure every time to chat with an individual about what they do now, how they stay engaged with their alma mater, and how their experience at my institution was.  Every story is unique and wonderful to hear.

I studied English in university and wasn’t sure if it’d be my BA that counted in getting my first job or my English degree, specifically.  Turns out it’s both!  A degree is important to get you in the door of the job you want, but I find my English degree – both in regards to my knowledge of writing and language, and my general critical thinking skills – is specifically valuable.  Plus, more than just knowing about writing, I love to write!  It’s my favourite and most efficient way of expressing myself, my thoughts, my intentions, and my ideas, and there are a lot of opportunities for writing in fundraising – whether it’s writing an appeal, writing a web article about exciting alumni news, or writing a customized proposal for a major gift prospect.

Secondly, I love words and language.  Word choice is an integral part of fundraising, both in spoken and written forms.  Sometimes it can come off as jargon (click here for an jargon-related, industry-specific laugh), but the truth is that the right word or phrase can evoke emotion, and emotion has so much to do with fundraising.

And that brings me to another thing I love about fundraising, I love the psychology of it.  It’s not just a business matter – although some donors prefer it to be that way – but instead an exchange of passion, emotion, nostalgia, and more.  In educational fundraising, a prospect’s memory of their time at the school, perhaps an opportunity made possible for them through a scholarship or bursary, can evoke such a strong sense of desire to give back.  If they see a current student who is only able to attend the school with the help of financial aid, they might reflect back on their own experience, and feel a need to contribute in order to provide this student or other students’ with the opportunities they once enjoyed.

Like I said, it’s not just a business matter or a transaction of money – it’s an experience.  An experience where a donor aligns his or her passions with their resources, matches their emotions up with their fortune.  And that’s another thing I love, it’s a feel-good industry to work in.  These aren’t static numbers on a spreadsheet.  I can see the look on people’s faces when they’re reflecting on the difference that they’ve made, and it’s magic.

This is once again a moment to share the perfect and eloquent simplicity of a child’s definition of philanthropy:

“Because if you help other people, you’ll be a good person, and you’ll feel good inside.”

And that’s another reason why I love doing what I do.

 

Written by Maeve Strathy

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Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years.  Click here to learn more about Maeve.

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