Why you need to know the difference between your donor’s implicit vs. explicit needs

Too often fundraisers make assumptions about what donors want.

Usually, this is driven by top leaders or board members. They decide, for instance, that it would be great to close more retained life estate gifts. So they instruct their staff to go out there and market them.

Sure, that might have worked 25 years ago, before you had the technology to understand what each of your supporters was thinking. But that isn’t how it works today.

Now you can capture your donors’ verbatims and digital body language so you can understand what they want before you market somewhat random offers to them in spray and pray fashion.

Implicit vs. explicit needs.

Implicit needs are implied but not directly stated while explicit needs are directly stated, leaving no room for uncertainty.

Implicit needs tend to be more ambiguous such as, “I think underprivileged teens should have an opportunity to go to college.” Compare that with an explicit need such as, “I’d like to fund a dozen scholarships in an endowment.”

Wishes vs. desires.

Here’s another way to think about the difference: Implicit needs tend to be wishes while explicit needs are more like desires. From the fundraiser’s perspective, donor wishes are ok but donor desires are much better because desires can burn. Smart fundraisers cultivate supporter interests properly turning wishes into burning desires, compelling action.

Know the difference.

You need to know the difference between implicit and explicit needs so you spray and pray less and engage more. Spray and pray marketing annoys donors. Engagement provides value and helps them move forward in the decision-making process. If you focus on implicit needs, you’ll be making assumptions. If you focus on explicit needs you’ll be having conversations.

Need help capturing your supporters’ explicit needs? 

You can learn how we can do it for you as we’ve done for so many others like you. Just schedule a time to chat.

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