The Wall Street Journal just published an overview of several recent research studies around donors and giving.  Here were a few of the key findings:

  • Even modest donors are motivated by public recognition.  An experiment by Harvard and Yale professors found that just promising to mention donors’ names in a newsletter raised the probability of their giving from 11% to 14%.
  • Another experiment demonstrated that securing a well known contributor as a matching donor increased the likelihood of individual giving by 22%.  Experts believe that individual donors find it hard to evaluate charities on their own and look to “expert givers” for cues that suggest a charity is a good bet.
  • A third experiment found that more donors were willing to seek donations from Facebook friends if they were provided an incentive (for the experiment, an anonymous donor offered an additional $5 in each donor’s name if they posted about the charity on their Facebook page).

As we head into 2015, keep these new findings in mind as you look to expand your donor base.