The end of the new fiscal year, means that many non-profits are busy trying to secure last minute donations rather than scheduling time to plan out a strategic development plan for the next fiscal year. However, creating a strategic development plan is the essential first step in achieving next year’s fundraising goals.
Many development professionals believe that soliciting donations is an art form. Even though this is true, there is also a science to fund development. Before your organization embarks on the planning process for your development endeavors, it is essential to research the latest trends in philanthropy.
In the March 29, 2015 issue of Chronicle of Philanthropy, in his article Science Can Answer Big Questions, John List from the Science in Philanthropy Institute provided scientific findings on solicitations . The big takeaways from this piece are:
· Donors like to give to a charity when they hear that their gift will be matched,however the match will not change the donor’s long-term motivation to give to that organization
· More gifts are received in solicitations with an image of the individual who would directly benefit from the donation. This picture must have good lighting, an uncluttered background, with the recipient groomed well and in appropriate clothing.
· Donors also gave when the individual benefiting from the donation provided a personal story that specified a concrete need that when fulfilled would allow them to achieve a certain goal
· Follow up to the personal story is necessary; donors want to hear about the progress being made from that individual
· More donors give to organizations when the charity publishes their entire donor list
· Tangible incentives such as tax benefits matter to the donor
· Statements that remind donors that they will receive an intangible benefit, such as a “warm glow,” will raise more funds than no incentive
· When the donor perceives themselves to be older than the recipients, they are more likely to give more
So as you plan, how can incorporate this knowledge into your strategic development endeavors for the next fiscal year? Construct a communication, solicitation, and stewardship strategy that encompasses these points in order to receive more donations.
[i] Science Can Answer Big Questions. List, John. Chronicle of Philanthropy. March 29, 2015