As a non-profit, you’re constantly looking for opportunities to increase both your donor base and the average donation. In Dan Ariely’s book The Upside Of Irrationality, he details the three triggers necessary to boost donations: closeness, vividness, and “drop-in-the-bucket” effect.
Closeness refers to how similar your feel to someone. You naturally share a feeling of closeness with people that share your background or zip code. Someone halfway around the world living in vastly different conditions doesn’t encourage my normal empathy.
Vividness refers to how much detail you provide on a problem your organization is solving. If you’re telling people about statistics (“every day, 10 people get infected …” ) or general conditions (“throughout the village, people are drinking polluted water …”) you’re not engaging their emotions fully. Instead of giving me the big picture of the whole problem, give me the scope of how the problem affects a specific person (“7-year old Jamilia has trouble waking every day. Her mom cries herself to sleep each night watching her only daughter slowly waste away from the parasitic infection that changed her from a bouncy girl into a …”). The better you can paint how one person is affected, the better your potential donor can feel how the problem feels.
Drop-in-the-bucket asks the question, “Will this action really matter?”. What will it matter to heal one person when 1,000 other people in their city are dying each day? People want to donate to a cause that can fix the root cause of the problem. They don’t want to fix the problem one-person-at-a-time.
In your next non-profit marketing effort, develop these 3 marketing strategy points to help your (potential) donors empathize with your fine work and share their generosity with your organization.