1Minute


The Right Message to the Wrong Person
(Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017)

Is your donor audience motivated by the tax advantages they might enjoy? Do they believe they are doing God’s will on earth? Does it energize them to give in their hometown where they can see the benefit? Do they like to invest because their friends also give? The answer to all these questions? Yes!

The key to understanding the complexity of donor and prospect motivation was delved by Prince and File in the mid-90s with their groundbreaking research and a book entitled, The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors. I encourage you to pick up the book because of its incredible insights into planned giving.

Prince and File identified major groupings and assigned a percentage of the population to each. In brief: Communitarians (26%) give where they live; Devout (21%) believe giving is a moral obligation and act on faith in the institution; Investors (15%) understand that giving and tax advantages can increase their own businesses; Socialites (11%) love to have fun and enjoy the events of giving; Repayers (10%) were likely recipients of the benefits first before they became donors; Altruists (9%) are generous and often anonymous; Dynasts (8%) may have inherited wealth and like carrying on the family tradition of giving back.

Interesting stuff, but... How can I apply this to my situation today?
  • Calling Program Knowing what motivates each donor, you could develop strategic approaches toward building long-term relationships.
  • Materials One larger nonprofit prepared separate brochures with distinct messages to match some of the more common groupings.
  • Mailings The more that nonprofits embrace this research, the less one-size-fits-all monthly mail (print and email) will end up in the trash.
This discussion fits under the category of “Know Your Donor”. The closer you can get to a donor’s heart, the faster and deeper your connection. Tailoring the right message to the right person is efficient and effective – goals of every nonprofit.

Blake Conover, President

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