Charitable Behavior: Are Your Appeals Under-Delivering on Emotion?

In a blog for Hilborn: Charity eNews, the president of a new social enterprise research firm discussed charitable behavior in North America. In the research, John Hallward and his colleagues at Sector3Insights explored a range of drivers of charitable giving.

One of their key insights: Non-profits are under-delivering on key emotional drivers to motivate donors’ charitable behavior.

“These characteristics are more important than the rational elements we see so often in charity solicitations and appeals; the ones about the relevance of the cause, trust, operating efficiency and mission impact,” Hallward writes. “The interesting disconnect was that most non-profits are under-delivering on these key emotional drivers of fundraising success, often spending valuable resources reassuring donors on the less important, rational messages.”

He goes on: “Successful fundraisers ignite the emotions in their donors, underline the personal connections, and deliver the sense of self-esteem that drives donors to take action.”

So how does a university development officer strike the right emotional chord? This is where marketing automation technology can facilitate better one-on-one engagement — soliciting alumni when and where they show interest to encourage charitable behavior.

Every day, your prospects show you what interests them. Some read an article about department rankings, others research the athletics schedule, some might explore a specific program. The options are many and varied on a university website. Marketing automation — like Capture Higher Ed’s Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE) — enables fundraisers to track alumni online and see what they are researching. The technology can turn on the light, allowing the development team to identify individual levels of affinity.

In his blog, Hallward asks: “Why do charities so often talk about themselves and rarely focus on the emotional triggers that activate donors?”

Perhaps it’s because they don’t have enough insight into those emotional triggers and enough opportunity to engage prospects one-on-one — the kind of insight and opportunity that automation can provide.

By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed