In her article for the Harvard Business Review about donor demographics, Lisa Lai examines how the key to effectively persuading people lies in correctly deciding whether you will try to win over their hearts or minds. Lisa is an adviser, consultant, and coach for some of the world’s most successful leaders and companies and a moderator of global leadership development programs for Harvard Business School Publishing.
Focus on Winning Either Hearts or Minds
By Lisa Lai | Harvard Business Review | 5/20/15
For people who are naturally persuasive (or overwhelmingly charismatic), have the ability to easily win both the hearts and minds of their audience. The rest of us must identify which one is likely to be most compelling in order to persuade others. All too often winning hearts and minds feels like a paradox because people are complicated and so are the problems we’re solving. Trying to leverage both emotion and logic can actually make us less influential if we don’t have a donor demographics plan.
The best way to influence your donors is to know what makes them tick. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to build the most effective strategy for your campaign. Nonprofits who have a good grasp of donor demographics, behavior and donation patterns can create effective plans of action and tailor their approach to increase contributions.
Distinct generational differences in giving which could affect your outreach and follow-up.
- Millennials (b 1980-1995) – Most likely to contribute to work sponsored initiatives, text to donate and watch videos before giving.
- Gen X (b 1965-1979) – Most likely to fundraise on behalf of an organization, make a pledge, and volunteer their time.
- Boomers (b 1945-1964) – Most likely to make recurring monthly, quarterly and/or yearly donations.
- Greatest (b before 1944) – Most likely to respond to direct mail campaigns and donate physical goods.
Gaining valuable donor demographics information can also help you to know when it makes more sense to use a stirring picture that pulls at your donor’s heart strings or a bullet point list of common sense reasons why they should help.
Final thought: As Lisa Lai’s article suggests, when you focus on your audience and their situation, you can plan accordingly with just the right tactic that will deliver results. Without planning, attempts to influence both emotion and logic can hurt efforts.