The most powerful motivators of major gifts and legacy gifts.

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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.

Why people donate




Pay tribute


Right wrongs

Give back

HormonesOxytocin “the love hormone”

Cortisol for focus


Neurons transmitting information

Mirror neurons support empathy

ReligionFind meaning

Satisfy dictates

Allay guilt


Synthetic family




All of this simply supports our desire to feel good (which is really the core motivator for all giving).


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2 responses to “The most powerful motivators of major gifts and legacy gifts.”

  1. Mike says:

    We are consistently finding a new motivation for planned/legacy gifts by showing people the “hidden taxes” in IRD assets upon the death of the surviving spouse. We ask one question, “When the administrator of your estate writes a check, had you rather the check be made payable to the IRS or your favorite charities?” Secondly, “Would you be interested in self-directing all tax liabilities from the IRS to your favorite charities?” 99% of people give a resounding “YES!”

    • Greg Warner says:

      Hmmm. Interestingly that’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what I was trying to say in this post. 🙂 Tax benefits come way after all the other motivators. But thanks for the insight.

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