What donors want and how you can deliver

When it comes to fundraising, nonprofits must make their efforts donor-centered. After all, donors are the ones making the decision to give and how much to contribute. The problem is that many charities don't know what their contributors want. This uncertainty presents a complex problem because there is no one, single answer. Additionally, providing supporters with information they don't want is not only counterproductive, it can be a waste of resources. Though this list only provides a small amount of insight into the intricate question, here are three donor needs for charities to incorporate into their fundraising strategy:

1. A problem to solve
According to Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brook, many charities mistakenly believe that presenting hope and happiness will garner more supporters than stressing a need. However, those sad pictures that focus on why you're organization is involved with a specific cause provide the best method of securing donations and supporters. If there are pictures of happy, smiling faces decking your website or featured in your brochure, then it looks like the problem is already solved. In essence, they make donors think they are not needed. Instead of focusing on just what your organization has done so far, highlight the work that still needs to be completed. In pictures, showcase what your cause looks like before you step in to help.

2. More data and facts
Factual information will also help present a real need for support. Benefactors actively seek out data when making a donation decision because they want to know that their contribution isn't going to waste. According to data analysis by Hope Consulting, only one-third of donations are researched, but that number would increase if usable data was readily available. In fact, for Hope Consulting's partner in research, Guidestar, donor activity increased 44 percent when its website showcased more information about a particular nonprofit, demonstrating that contributors are more likely to react in the nonprofit's favor when they better understand a cause. Incorporate more data as one of your online fundraising tools.

3. Trust and transparency
Contributors want to be able to trust a charity before making a donation. Updated, accurate data helps them decipher the legitimacy of your philanthropic organization, but that's only one aspect of building your integrity. What financial story that data tells is just as important as its presence. According to nonprofit leader Dean Vella, charities can secure trust by evaluating their own spending habits. For example, how much money is spent on administration and salaries? What percentage of finances goes toward the actual cause? Vella suggests that if the percentage of contributions applied to the cause falls below 75 percent, the nonprofit should include an explanation of why that is. Likewise, if the extra expenses are going toward administration, why is that? He also stresses that charities must have a consistent, true message. Use factual information to convey your philanthropic organization's dedication. Being transparent will help supporters trust you.

By providing donors with what they are looking for, your nonprofit can build an effective fundraising strategy.

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