Do People Really Give to People?

MarketSmart characters
MarketSmart lightbulb icon

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

People giving to other peopleOn page 6 of Penelope Burk’s new book titled Donor-Centered Leadership lies a startling little statistic.
“Among donors who have assigned a bequest in their wills, only 4% say they were influenced to do so by a representative of the recipient charity.”
4%?
In other words, 96% of donors were NOT influenced by a representative of the recipient charity?
We all know that more donors give and give more generously if they are asked.  So let’s get out there and ask!

10 responses to “Do People Really Give to People?”

  1. This is very interesting information and leads me to what I see as an obvious question: Does the phrase “influenced to do so by a representative of the recipient charity” refer to a face-to-face visit with a solicitation to make a planned gift, or is it more generally interpreted to also include receiving a marketing piece with an urge to action? I have a feeling it refers to the former and not at all to the latter. Which makes your point more important. If they didn’t feel influenced by a marketing piece on planned giving we’re really not influencing our audience to act if we rely on them as a primary source of “solicitation”. Greg, you know me well enough, that you already count me as a member of the band-wagon you are on. Get out of the office at least once a week to visit with a prospective planned gift donor; get on the phone at least one hour each day to connect with prospective planned gift donors and secure those appointments. This should be your primary – underscore the word primary – activity. Editing the next newsletter can wait until you’ve made at least 10 calls. We need to stop underestimating the value of relationship building on fundraising. Planned giving is not a spectator-sport. It’s participatory and that participation is mandatory for success.

  2. This is very interesting information and leads me to what I see as an obvious question: Does the phrase “influenced to do so by a representative of the recipient charity” refer to a face-to-face visit with a solicitation to make a planned gift, or is it more generally interpreted to also include receiving a marketing piece with an urge to action? I have a feeling it refers to the former and not at all to the latter. Which makes your point more important. If they didn’t feel influenced by a marketing piece on planned giving we’re really not influencing our audience to act if we rely on them as a primary source of “solicitation”. Greg, you know me well enough, that you already count me as a member of the band-wagon you are on. Get out of the office at least once a week to visit with a prospective planned gift donor; get on the phone at least one hour each day to connect with prospective planned gift donors and secure those appointments. This should be your primary – underscore the word primary – activity. Editing the next newsletter can wait until you’ve made at least 10 calls. We need to stop underestimating the value of relationship building on fundraising. Planned giving is not a spectator-sport. It’s participatory and that participation is mandatory for success.

  3. Katherine…amen! when we forget we are in a PEOPLE business, we’re in trouble! Thanks for your comments.

  4. Katherine…amen! when we forget we are in a PEOPLE business, we’re in trouble! Thanks for your comments.

  5. Virginia Wright says:

    I have always had a problem with the phrase “people give to people.” It is more accurate to say: people give to causes they believe in, and they have to be asked. Face to face, and with whatever methods you have at your disposal. The “people give to people” phrase confuses new fundraisers and volunteers. Maybe I feel so strongly about this as I have always worked in niche markets.

  6. Virginia Wright says:

    I have always had a problem with the phrase “people give to people.” It is more accurate to say: people give to causes they believe in, and they have to be asked. Face to face, and with whatever methods you have at your disposal. The “people give to people” phrase confuses new fundraisers and volunteers. Maybe I feel so strongly about this as I have always worked in niche markets.

  7. Greg Warner says:

    Katherine, Margie and Virginia… ditto!!

  8. Greg Warner says:

    Katherine, Margie and Virginia… ditto!!

  9. Tom Yates says:

    I think it’s safe to say it’s not one or the other. An effective multi-channel marketing program and a strong donor engagement program need to be in place. The challenge of course is that to have both really requires more staffing and resource allocation then the typical development office wants to commit.

  10. Tom Yates says:

    I think it’s safe to say it’s not one or the other. An effective multi-channel marketing program and a strong donor engagement program need to be in place. The challenge of course is that to have both really requires more staffing and resource allocation then the typical development office wants to commit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get smarter!
Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!