Cygnus Applied Research is an organization that studies donor trends each year.  They just released their 2014 report on donor behavior and there were some interesting findings:

When over 16,000 donors were asked “what can charities do to increase giving?” here were the top responses (ranked from top response to least popular response):

  • #1: Provide information on how my previous gift was used
  • #2: Ask for a matching gift
  • #3: Tie gifts to programs
  • #4: Show results of a gift
  • #5: Show appreciation

When asked “what stops you from giving to a group?” here were the top responses (ranked from top response to least popular response):

  • #1: High overhead
  • #2: High volume of appeals
  • #3: Excess focus on fundraising
  • #4: Insufficient results
  • #5: Uninspired by mission
  • #6: No data on progress
  • #7: Quality of acknowledgment

Interestingly, there were some differences based on the age of the donors who responded to the questionnaire.  Older donors were least likely to make additional gifts due to high overhead and excess appeals.  Younger donors (under 35) were least likely to make additional gifts if they felt uninspired by the mission of the organization or if the organization couldn’t show significant results.

As you approach donors this fall, keep these findings in mind for better fundraising success.