Who Are Your Donors? Understand Donor Behavior

Silhouette of a man with the title "Who are Your Donors?"It is important that your organization starts researching donors, if you haven’t already. Understanding your donors is the first step to increasing their yearly giving as well as expanding your pool to new people. It all boils down to human psychology. You want to know a donor’s perception, motivation, emotion, behavior, and creativity/play. Identify donor problems from their perspective and create solutions for them. A key phrase here is to “be agile.” Questions that you ask need to be specific, actionable, and practical. You are attempting to discover what makes donors tick.   

The basic process of donor research is: 

  • Define the problem/need: Frame your problem and then start asking questions. 
  • Define the donor: Think about your audience. What does this donor do? What are they looking for? What are their principles? 
  • Research the competition: What sets you apart from them in your arena?
  • Ideate: Come up with as many solutions as possible 
  • Test: Send out donation letters, and take note of who you get responses back from 
  • Repeat: Make changes to your donation letter as needed based on the type of response you’re getting 

Donor research is both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research is based on things like observation and surveys and quantitative research is demographics and studies. Taking this in mind, the 3 types of research that should be done are exploratory (defining the problem), explanatory (observing and defining the donor context), and testing. It is ultimately about the donor and whether your donation request complements their company’s goals. 

 You will want to gather data from current and perspective donors. To do this, the skills that are necessary include clear phrasing, realistic expectations, and practice. Based off information gleaned from your donor research, you can create personas and scenarios. In other words, you know what makes donors tick and you’re able to use that information to get awesome donations!  

Without doing all of this, you risk not looking at your efforts from every angle, missing out on valuable donations in the process.  It is a lot easier to explain donors’ behavior by figuring out their motivations, needs, and goals.  

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Donor Gurus at UltimateDonations.org
Ultimate Donations streamlines the often convoluted task of planning fundraisers and charity events by guiding you to discover donors more rapidly and effectively. If you have requested donations previously, you might be all to familiar with how tiring and time-consuming examining potential donors can be. Ultimate Donations has done a significant part of the research into who is most likely to donate to your organization. If you want a particular donation, we have the data on what is available.