Would you like to learn how you can persuade two-thirds of your compassionate donors to be kind enough to donate 21% more to your cause?
I recently listened to a podcast on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website about five words that can increase giving among women. The podcast was an interview with Jen Shang of Indiana University, who specializes philanthropic psychology, and Eva Zogorski, development director at WFIU, a public radio station in Bloomington, Indiana. I recommend listening to the podcast rather than just reading the article on the web page.
Shang and Zogorski did a study where they randomly used two of five words while conversing with a potential donor. These magical words had a dramatic effect, increasing donations 21% compared to conversation without the wonder words. These mystical, potent words that have such Jedi mind control power over donors are:
Caring Compassionate Helpful Friendly Kind
Why are these words so effective? According to Shang, they appeal to the “ideal moral identity” of the donor. Basically, who the donor aspires to be. Apparently these five words appeal to the moral aspirations of women, who represent two-thirds of a typical nonprofit donor base. Perhaps not surprisingly – at least to my wife, anyway – these words had no effect on men. Should I be insulted by that? Anyway, at the very least using these words won’t dissuade men from donating.
But that got me thinking. In the context of DonorPages and WebLink, the words we chose when asking people to be generous can have a major impact on results. Certainly a DonorPages peer-to-peer fundraising site could incorporate these words into its copy:
Your compassionate commitment to fundraising is vitally helpful to our efforts.
Or even added to a WebLink donation form:
Thanks to caring, kind people like you, we can meet our goals this year.
It’s certainly worth trying. Perhaps setting up a test with two forms, one with the magic words and one without, might produce eye-opening results.