How Donors Can Find Meaning in Your Non-profit

Family, sports, music, career, friends, religion, travel… are just a few of the things that give our life meaning. They give us reason to persevere and hang on through the roller-coaster of life’s inevitable ups and downs.

We know from our work that the charitable sector is on the hunt to bridge the meaning-gap. We saw it on full display at a recent Data & Marketing Association (DMA) conference.

Author and speaker Emily Esfahani Smith, during the DMA keynote, argued that meaning is not only important, but healthy. It can lead to better relationships and an increased ability to cope.

It goes beyond the confines of happiness. If non-profits can help find meaning, they can create virtuous cycles, in which donors are rewarded with a sense of purpose.

The Best Friends Animal Society (BFSA) has a mission to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets. Through this mission, they build meaning for donors using ongoing engagement. One of BFSA’s guiding principles is to judge their effectiveness “by the positive experience of the people we touch.” Another principle is to “be open and honest in our relationships.”

They believe in providing donors with immediate feedback on the results of their campaigns. BFSA’s Megan Conn, speaking at the DMA conference, explained “we want to delight people because they know that we know that they made a donation.” She described how they communicate back to donors for this reason. For example, if the fundraising goal is building an animal sanctuary through the purchase of farm equipment, BFSA will communicate to donors when it was successfully purchased.

Donors, in turn, are delighted by this type of follow-up and some were even moved to contribute more. This is a prime example of how a charity can bring meaning to the forefront of the donor relationship.

Helping donors find meaning benefits everyone. It creates positive and powerful emotional connections. Our research has shown that emotional connections are the most powerful drivers of donating. That’s why we developed our Connection Compass research program.

Connection Compass benchmarks and tracks 20,000 North American donors each year, providing charities with unparalleled access into the hearts and minds of your donors and prospects. It predicts donation intent by bringing the emotional connection into the equation to reach more donors, better understand what messages work and connect in a way which builds loyalty.

To learn more about Connection Compass, download our whitepaper Connection Compass: How Emotional Connections Drive Donating. To learn more about the connections between emotions and donating see our article Why Emotional Connections Drive Donating: Lessons From The Academic Literature. We are always happy to talk, so feel free to contact us.

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