CDE project 3 appen­dix 5: Glos­sary and appen­dix 6: sources of fur­ther information

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
May 01, 2017

Appendix 5: Glossary

Lifetime Value 

The predicted value of a donor over the entire length of their giving. This should include legacy income.


In this document, when we use this term we refer to emotional loyalty: ‘the feeling of support or allegiance to a cause or charity’.

Behavioural loyalty is different and refers to a donor’s actual giving behaviour, and specifically whether they keep giving to you.


We use Professor Adrian Sargeant’s definition of active commitment: ‘a genuine passion for the future of the organization and the work it is trying to achieve’.


Again, we look to Professor Adrian Sargeant, who defines Satisfaction as the extent to which the charity exceeds donor expectations.


The donor’s belief that a charity will spend their donations effectively and behave in the right ways.

Emotional Engagement

The way in which a donor feels connected to or engaged with a charity. This is distinct from Behavioural Engagement, which is the way a donor interacts with or supports the charity.

Appendix 6: Sources of further information

Emotions are important

Decision making is emotional, and no-where is that more true than in fundraising.

We know that people give to people, and that ideally they want to connect with a single beneficiary. Famous research showed that people will give more than double in response to a story about a single identifiable victim than the amount they would in response to statistics. Adding statistics to the story of the identifiable victim, rather than increasing giving, actually suppressed it by 40%.[1] I’m not sure Stalin is the best role model for us to base our recommendations on, but he was right when he said that “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

Decision--making is emotional. Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, showed that the sub-conscious auto-pilot works 275,000 times faster than the conscious pilot.[2]

Alan Clayton is one of the sector’s leading voices in how emotions drive donor behaviours and how the different Need Emotions (anger, helplessness, compassion) and Reward Emotions (gratitude, pride and togetherness) can be used to develop a donor’s emotional connection to the charity. Ken Burnett[3] illustrates how story-telling is a powerful tool that we all have at our disposal for reaching into our donors’ hearts.

There are countless other papers and books which we’d recommend reading that talk about how emotions can be used to drive behaviour and value. Drew Weston[4] and Colin Shaw[5] wrote two of my other favourites.

We have seen already that there is a growing collection of evidence that shows that the way donors feel about the charities they support is a key driver in the length of time they will provide support, the amount they will give and the level to which they will be an advocate for you with their friends, families and colleagues.

In addition to all this, we recommend you read as much as you can that has been published by Professor Adrian Sargeant and Beth Breeze of Kent University.

[1] Small, Loewenstein and Slovic: Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative  thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims (2005)

[2] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow (2011)

[3] Ken Burnett: Storytelling can change the world (2014)

[4] Drew Weston: The Political Brain (2007)

[5] Colin Shaw: The DNA of the Customer Experience – how emotions drive value (2007)

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About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

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