Donation psychology isn’t intuitive. Fundraising technologies should be.
A real-time donation thermometer for event fundraising is the perfect tool to address the psychology of giving. Donation thermometers:
- create a sense of urgency
- give personal recognition
- drive more donor contributions
That’s one smart donation psychology tool! After all, Clark Hull’s 1934 Goal-Gradient Hypothesis found the behaviorisms and psychology of animals and humans increased in effort as they approached a reward or goal. (We bet you feel even smarter now. You’re welcome.)
Understanding Donation Psychology 101
Donation psychology 101 is that donors usually give for personal satisfaction – not solely out of kindness. Here are some reasons why:
Someone they know is affected or personally asked them to give and they wanted to help. People want to feel connected.
2—Sense of Control/Power
The feeling of powerlessness naturally makes people seek ways to regain control and balance our psychological well-being. Choosing to make a donation allows supporters to feel like they are contributing to a solution for the problem.
3—Acceptance and Belonging
When everyone else is making a difference, chances are others will join the cause.
It’s the right thing to do.
How to Use a Donation Thermometer
Take advantage of donation psychology…
1—Talk to Supporters…Create A Sense of Urgency
Have a conversation with potential donors about why they are important to the cause. Studies show people are more inclined to give if they feel a personal or emotional connection and have details about the benefits of their contribution.
People give with their heart…not their head. Go ahead and pull on their heartstrings, but focus on the positive changes their donation will make – it’s proven that happier people give more.
2—Display the Real-Time Thermometer
Bigger is better! Project your custom fundraising thermometer for everyone to see. Supporters can see the text instructions, campaign goal, and (most importantly) real-time stats like number of donors, donation amounts, and how close you are to your goal. The closer you get, the more people are inclined to give.
3—Let’s Get Physical
Get people involved. Giving is an emotional and impulsive action. Be a good example while you talk supporters through the steps of pledging to your campaign from your own mobile phones as they sit in audience pledging from theirs’.
Simply instructing everyone to take their phones out and open a new text message puts them this close to making a donation they may as well follow through with the rest of the steps. The pre-selected suggested donation amount on your form eliminates additional work for your supporter.
Plus, remind them they can see their donation added to the cause within moments. Suggestion: Have everyone stand as they see their name/donation appear. (Why? Keep reading…)
4—Friendly Competition is A Good Thing (Really!)
Have you been the only one sitting in a room full of people standing? Awkward! If you invite donors to stand as their name scrolls on the thermometer, people around them will be inclined to join them.
Human effort increases as the goal approaches fulfillment because the impact of contributions feels greater. Keep going until your cause has the standing ovation it deserves!
Thanking specific individual donors from the real-time thermometer feed elicits more donations from supporters looking for their own public recognition high. It doesn’t take much to psychologically solidify their contribution towards making a difference.
6—Give ’em Something To Talk About
Encourage donors to share about their donations and your cause on social media channels. It’ll make them feel good – plus, people have said they are more inclined to give if a friend asks them to do so.
Sharing keywords, links to donation forms, and/or text instructions in social media allows more people to see it – even after your live event is over. You can also embed your thermometer on your website for all to see before, during, and after your campaign event.
Click icon below to enlarge donation psychology diagram.
By Jessica Bernstein, MobileCause Marketing Manager