Leveraging emotional stimulation and mobile devices to increase donations

There are a number of ways that nonprofits can attract new contributors and open new donation pipelines.
Date Published
08/15/2014

Nonprofit fundraising strategies are constantly being tweaked by charitable organizations to drive increased donations that can help them achieve their organizational missions. The strength of any 501(c)(3) group can be found in its donor pipeline. Many nonprofits juggle with uncovering ways to keep current contributors giving on a consistent basis, encouraging them to increase the size of their donations and also attracting new givers.

All three strategies are common challenges within many nonprofits, but there are a number of ways to overcome them. One of which is tap into the psyche of potential donors.

Many people give to charities because they are moved by some form of emotional stimuli. If the mission of the charity or the cause it is looking to further resonates with people strongly enough, many times they will be encouraged to, at the very least, make a one-time donation. However, if the campaign messaging is strong and compelling, then these same individuals can be convinced to offer continued support, giving a nonprofit a consistent donation stream.

However, the question for many leaders of charities is how to accomplish this goal. An infographic from digital commerce company Elastic Path may provide some useful answers.

Leveraging emotion to increase donations
In any retail transaction, customers must first see the perceived value of a product or service before making a purchase decision. The same concept applies in nonprofit fundraising. However, the biggest challenge for any organization, whether retail or charity-based, is to quickly move someone from the indecisive stage to certainty. Elastic Patch calls this the action paralysis phase.

In its infographic, Elastic Path noted the American Cancer Society’s strategy of asking donors for a minimum donation amount as a way to encourage giving. The ACS was able to increase donations by as much as 78 percent using this strategy, largely due to the fact that it eliminated the guesswork for many donors on what the size of their contribution should be.

Another strategy that can be used by 501(c)(3) organizations is highlighting areas where they could use financial support from donors to further critical mission areas. This level of transparency can be a motivating factor for people who feel a connection to the cause of a particular organization and feel compelled to help out in any way they can. It also helps raise the profile of the nonprofit as contributors will be comforted in knowing how their money will be used.

Tapping into mobile to encourage more giving
The use of mobile as a fundraising platform is still growing in popularity with charities. The biggest challenge isn’t in understanding the power of mobile when it comes to nonprofit fundraising, but how to properly leverage it.

People all over the world are rapidly adopting devices such as smartphones and tablets. They are also conducting e-commerce related transactions at an even faster pace. It’s critical that nonprofits find a way to capitalize on this change in consumer behavior with respect to increased donations.

According to Nonprofit Technology Network, nonprofits that have deployed text-to-pledge campaigns on mobile devices, on average, resulted in minimum charitable gifts of $64 and a maximum of at least $107. This is one of the many ways that a 501(c)(3) organization can turn mobile into a consistent donation stream.

Another suggestion made by the website is for charities to begin accepting alternate forms of payment for donations. The use of digital wallets and cryptocurrencies like bitcoins is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. By allowing these to be used as acceptable forms of donations, nonprofits open themselves up to a well of increased giving that they may not have considered previously.

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