Emotional Impact

The majority of donors are unengaged or minimally engaged.  Most nonprofits have the potential to significantly increase donor support by increasing donor engagement (the emotional connection).

How engaged are your donors?

The most effective way to increase donor engagement is to engage the emotions that are most important to the donor.  Your cultivation process will help you discover your donors’ important emotions.  Some of the common emotions are compelled, deeply affected, compassionate, excited, optimistic, rewarded, and satisfied.  While most of your donors will share many of the same emotions, the statistics, stories, and facts that evoke the emotional response will differ.  In addition, the importance of each emotion to the donor will differ and have a different effect on the donor’s giving.

You want to receive an emotional response from your donors.  Your statistics, facts, and anecdotes should be motivational.  Statistics, facts, and anecdotes can leave the listener thinking, “The XYZ Nonprofit has a great program.”  However, you want the response to be, “I had no idea how much can be done and how much there is to do.  I want to be involved in this important work.”  Without a sense of urgency, the prospective donor will applaud, maybe make a minor gift, but rarely engage.  The donors will be left looking for somewhere to engage their hearts and you will be feeling good about the applause but scrambling at yearend to make your fundraising goal.

When the response is “You have a great program”, you know you have communicated all of the right information.  You know your message was received and understood.  Now change a few words and perhaps the tone of the message so that the listener feels what you feel every day when you start work.

Next Step:

Chose the statistics, facts, and anecdotes that clearly tell your nonprofit’s story

Share your emotions while you share your statistics, facts, and anecdotes

Check to ensure your message is clearly received and had an emotional impact on the recipient

Use the change in donor engagement as a success measure for your messaging

Ensure every message ends with a call to action

Without a call to action, a message is just a status report.  We all live busy lives.  Therefore, after several status reports arrive from the same source people stop opening and reading what they receive.

You know your nonprofit does important work and has many remarkable successes.  Donors want to be part of organizations like yours.  Each of your messages needs to reassure your donors that your nonprofit is what you already know it is.

Successful fundraising depends on the emotional impact your message has.

Take It Further:

Ensure your messages are so compelling that everyone who receives your message wants to share your message with others even if the original recipient never engages with your nonprofit

Test each message with a representative group

Learn more about using facts and anecdotes in communication


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