Why do people give (and what’s wrong with the list)?

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.

In Ken Burnett’s awesome book titled Relationship Fundraising, he lists 18 reasons why people give.  I love the list but there’s one thing wrong here.  He put the wrong reason at the top.  And, I think he should have switched the last two reasons with the first.
Here’s his list:

  • Tax planning to escape, say, inheritance tax
  • Ego, self-esteem
  • The quest for immortality
  • Emotional response
  • Self-preservation
  • Vested interest
  • In memoriam
  • Giving something back
  • Identifying with the cause
  • Religious heritage
  • Social ambition
  • Guilt
  • Altruism
  • Compassion
  • Authority
  • Value for money
  • Because they were asked
  • Because it feels good


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

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