I’m sitting in my office finally taking the time to read the Public Agenda Research Reports: The Charitable Impulse. This study interviewed donors and charity leaders to find out each others’ perceptions.

Reading the comments of donors versus the perceptions of leaders, I’m reminded of all the times people tell me donors are really motivated by tax-deductibility of their gift. (They’re not. Think about it in terms of your own giving. Time and again, donors are primarily motivated by the impact of the cause.)

Donors consistently trust local nonprofits more than national organizations or the government. They say that local nonprofits have heart and are able to make a real difference in their community.

Whether local or national, donor say they “feel personally betrayed” when scandals erupt because they feel that their “money was misused” (p. 8). This report says donors feel their charitable giving as a form of activism. A way of voting with their dollars.

Read this report–it’s a free download here. How do you need to change the way you “engage” donors? Have you been trying to engage donor prospects in ways that do not interest them?

Remember, in the Get R.E.A.L.! process, the engage step is like dating. If you find out your date doesn’t like Thai food, you don’t insist on taking them to a Thai restaurant. (Unless you don’t want a second date with that person!)

So if you’re not talking about the heart of your cause and the people actively making a difference through your organization, take this time around the holiday to re-write all of your messaging. Or at least to re-script the talking points you use on a daily basis!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


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