Tuto­r­i­al 4: Moti­va­tion, mag­ic and junk mail

Here Jer­ry shares a few moti­va­tions often list­ed in text­book approach­es to fundraising.

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
February 25, 2019

Here are a few motivations often listed in textbook approaches to fundraising:

  • Altruism – kindness towards other people
  • Idealism – the urge to change the world
  • Compassion – sympathy towards less fortunate people
  • Obligation – it’s your duty
  • Ego gratification – a sense of well-being

One could add gratitude, religious beliefs, political beliefs and so on. But much more important is testing why things work and then using those techniques that are most successful.

It is often more interesting and relevant to know who gives, rather than why:

  1. Demographics – age, income, number of cars, gender and so on
  2. Psychographics – the magazines and books they read, the kind of cars they buy, recreational and religious preferences and lifestyle in general

Other motivations often observed by fundraising authorities include:

  • Search for immortality
  • Desire for recognition
  • Urge to join the group
  • Guilt
  • Silent testimony
  • Fear of the disease

For many individuals, there are hidden motivations for giving – some positive, some negative, some selfish, some altruistic and so on. But there is one hidden motivation that cannot be overlooked – the joy of sharing. Fundraisers sometimes forget that raising money does more than just help the cause for which they are raising funds. It also gives the donor a joyous experience.

People give money by mail for four basic reasons:

  1. Because it is private. We live in a society where privacy is a cherished freedom and many donors feel uncomfortable about making any public profession of their charitable impulses. But they can give by mail in the privacy of their home.
  2. Convenience. The postman brings the mail, the donor writes the cheque and the postman delivers the response. No long conversation with a fundraiser.
  3. It’s traditional to give money by mail.
  4. It’s habit forming. This is part of ‘the joy of sharing’. When a person makes a gift and then receives a letter or note of appreciation from the charity, the donor really feels good and looks forward to repeating that joyous experience again and again and again. It becomes a positive addiction. That’s why it is so critical to acknowledge a donor’s gift and to do so within 24-48 hours.

© SOFII Foundation 2010-2014

About the author: Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger is revered in direct marketing circles as the dean of direct mail. 

Some years back Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII and we’ve been serialising them ever since. All 50-plus are gems. Together, they add up to a complete ‘how-to’ guide to everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.

These tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen_Chapman.jpg#asset:8990:urlGwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa. She explains the importance to these tutorials here.

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