Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Do Donors Give?

For years, fundraisers have been searching for the answer to a question that is the nonprofit equivalent of the Holy Grail: Why do donors give?

This is one of those questions that truly doesn't have a single right answer. Every donor who you talk to will likely give you a different reason for they decided to give money or other gifts to an organization. That doesn't mean people have given up trying to come up with a concrete answer to the question. Larry C. Johnson, author of "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," thinks he has the answer: People give because they want to.

It may not be the profound answer that some in fundraising are looking for, but it does have some weight behind it. There is no denying that you can't force someone to give if they don't want to. 

In a study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, “Understanding Donors' Motivations,” the five most frequently occurring motivations for philanthropy were listed. They are:
  • To meet critical, basic needs;
  • To give back to society by making the community a better place;
  • A belief that those with more should help those with less;
  • To bring about a desired impact or result; and,
  • A request for money was made.
These reasons are sure to spark debate among fundraisers. Let us know what your thoughts are, and whether you have found a different answer to this intriguing question.

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