As blogged previously, the psychology behind giving charitably relies on an intrinsic need to do something that makes us feel good, and appear generous in front of our peers.
Whether you’re trying to get a donor to donate for the first time, or encourage a current donor to give another gift, is the ‘good’ feeling we get from giving enough of a reward?
Well, maybe. Maybe not.
What do your supporters value? Physical items that reward them for giving, or knowing that their money is making a difference to the people who need it most?
While we think that rewards are a fantastic way of being grateful for supporters, we can’t ignore the fact that a little reward may well incentivise someone to donate, or donate a bit more than they normally would.
So here are our top tips for rewarding your donors for their generous giving.
- Meaningful Impact
Rewards don’t necessarily have to be an actual ‘thing’. They could just be a meaningful communication, saying exactly what that person’s donation has gone towards. For example, if £10 provides a school with 4 books, you could show them the children enjoying those books with a picture and a message from the children themselves. This shows the donor that their money is going towards something real, and they can see the impact it’s having firsthand. Knowing that their money has gone towards something so beneficial is enough of a reward in some cases.
Where appropriate, you could even invite donors to the site where their donations are used. Perhaps an ‘Evening With…’ type of event, or a tour, where they can see firsthand the difference their donations are making, and maybe even meet some of the people who have directly benefitted from what they’ve given.
Doing this makes your donor feel connected to your organisation, your mission and the all important work you are doing.
- Involvement and Action
There’s nothing quite like activating your supporters and getting them involved with your charitable projects. You could combine a donor reward with the opportunity to build your volunteer base – What better way to show your donors the work you are doing, by asking them to be a direct part of it themselves.
For example, if your organisation is involved in a community project that a whole host of donors/ volunteers could get involved with it could really show them firsthand the difference their money is making.
To mobilise your donor community you could also encourage sponsored runs, walks, cake sales – The list is endless!
- Personalised Products
They’re not for everyone, but some donors really will be incentivised by a product that they can show to their friends. This type of reward tends to be more of an incentive to first time donors.
Perhaps the best example of a personalised product is a branded T Shirt for a sponsored run. It’s a popular choice to wear a branded t shirt from the organisation you are raising funds for. People really get behind your organisation and mission, as well as raising awareness of your cause.
Other options could be mugs, pens, car stickers, fridge magnets and calendars. There are so many ideas out there! They are great ways of saying thank you, as well as customisable ways to advertise your organisation and mission. The best thing about these is that they are generally not very expensive to create! Donors want to feel like all of their money is going towards your cause, rather than funding gifts, so the cheaper you can reward them, the better.
It is worth considering however, whether it’s appropriate to give a reward. Is somebody going to want a mug to commemorate them giving towards a catastrophic natural disaster or gut-wrenching emotional plea? Probably not. Do your regular gift givers want a mug everytime they donate? Again, probably not.
Make sure any personalised products are appropriate, relevant and wanted.
- Know Your Donors
You know your supporters best. You know what type of person they are, what moves them to donate and what keeps them donating. This is the most valuable information you’ve got when it comes to deciding on what to use as a reward.
If you keep your rewards grounded in your mission, then the incentive to donate is already there.
Think of your rewards as being rooted in gratitude, rather than incentivising. Yes, a reward can motivate someone to donate for the first time, but the reward will be more meaningful if it’s coming from a place of thanks.
Remember, you’re showing your gratitude for someone’s donation, not bribing them to donate. The better that person feels after making a donation to your cause, the more likely they are to donate again.
Do you give rewards or incentives for donations? What works best for your organisation? We’d love for you to share your experience with us.