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The Psychology of the Ask: Understanding Intrinsic Motivation Presented by Linda B. Haley, CFRE Principal – Let’s Build Hope, LLC Let's Build Hope.

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Presentation on theme: "The Psychology of the Ask: Understanding Intrinsic Motivation Presented by Linda B. Haley, CFRE Principal – Let’s Build Hope, LLC Let's Build Hope."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Psychology of the Ask: Understanding Intrinsic Motivation Presented by Linda B. Haley, CFRE Principal – Let’s Build Hope, LLC Let's Build Hope

2 Two-Part Presentation About the donor… About the fundraiser…


4 Are Major Donors Worth the Effort? Reviewing patterns of behavior helps us understand, to some degree, how major donors feel Considering the statistics helps us understand just how impactful major donors (and their gifts!) can be

5 Study of High Net Worth Donors 2012 study by Bank of America & the Center on Philanthropy – 700 respondents – Households with incomes greater than $200,000 and/or net worth more than $1,000,000 excluding the monetary value of their home – Trends in the giving and volunteering behaviors of high net worth individuals and households

6 Their Giving Habits 95% of high net worth households donated to at least one charity, contrasted to the approximately 65% of the general population who give Compared with 2009, fewer high net worth donors gave spontaneously in response to a need and a greater proportion funded nonprofit general operations High net worth donors are consistently motivated to give because they feel moved about how their gift can make a difference

7 Their Giving Habits Majority of high net worth households reported having a great deal of confidence in the ability of nonprofits (90.8%) and individuals (89.%) to solve societal problems Average amount donated by high net worth households to charity overall in 2012 was $52,770 74% reported that feeling moved about how a gift can make a difference remained a top motivation Annually supporting the same causes and giving to an efficient organization held steady as motivations for high net worth donors


9 Reported Motivation for Charitable Giving Motivations Percentage of Respondents (donors chose 3) – Basic needs 43.0 – Poor help themselves 36.7 – Make community better 36.7 – Make world better 35.4 – For equity (responsibility to help those with less) 27.9 – Own decision about money 25.3 – Services govt. can't/won't provide 23.4 – Solve problems in world 17.5 – Same opportunity 16.4 – Support friends & family 13.8 – Diversity 6.0 – Ties across communities 4.6 – Other 2.3 Source: Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University,

10 The Common Theme? What is the common theme among almost all of these motivation? – They are based on emotion So if we, as fundraisers, are to impact donors and their giving, does it then hold that we must reach a donor’s heart?

11 The Philanthropic Revolution Based on Keynes’ (father of macroeconomics) suppositions for the future of the wealthy – Accumulation will no longer be an issue – They’ll begin to use wealth as an instrument – They’ll need a new “code of morals,” using wealth for a deeper purpose: to advance one’s neighbor Paul Schervish’s insights – Two decades of research on giving, wealth, spirituality, and philanthropy

12 The 4 M’s of Wealth Money Meaning Motives Moral biography

13 Money Exponential growth of wealth since 1950 – 9 recessions during that time Households with wealth greater than $25M – 115,000! Has created need for new code of morals re: money

14 Meaning In the last 50 years, we’ve moved from – From distributional philanthropy – To productive philanthropy We can now focus on societal issues – Aware of costs to address these issues – Have the money to address them – Know we need systemic change – Have the will to focus on these For the first time in history, we can create material solutions for our greatest societal needs

15 Motive Once the wealthy have solved the economic question for themselves/their families – Motives can be pure (non-tax motive) – Can examine how to use wealth as a tool to solve problems

16 Moral Biography When donors figure out what they want for others, they can figure out what they want for themselves They can use wealth to obtain a deeper purpose in life

17 Rick Warren’s Concept Survival – You are living from week to week, looking forward to the weekends, vacations, and finally retirement. Success – Eating out, driving a nice car…looking good, feeling good, having the goods. At this level, people start thinking, “If I am so successful why I don’t feel satisfied?” Significance – You know your life matters. You know why you are alive. You know you have a purpose.


19 Now What? If major donors’ are asking themselves these profound questions, then… – We as nonprofit professionals become part of their life answer…part of their search for significance – Thus we must understand the psychology of fundraising…the psychology of the ask

20 From the Donor’s Perspective When we arrive (to the relationship OR the ask) – Donors are looking at US! WE represent the charity WE offer the bridge to the donor’s fulfillment of his/her philanthropic dreams WE receive the feedback, manage the objections, and decide how to let the feedback shape our organizations WE are a pivotal part of the process

21 Considering Our Part How do we ensure… – that we’re not blocking the process? – that we’re not negatively affecting the result? – that we’re representing our organization with passion, purpose, and clarity?

22 Wherever you go…there you are! To understand your potential fundraising baggage, consider: – How do YOU feel about giving? – What are YOUR objections? – How do YOU feel about charitable organizations? – How do YOU feel about your organization? – What do YOU think about the rich? – How do YOU feel about asking? About being asked?

23 How do you carry yourself? Clues to your feelings about fundraising Dress Speech Comfort level with leadership Can you share the feedback? Can you stand up for your donors? Comfort level with donors Do you build relationships easily? Are you able to be authentic with donors? Can you set boundaries when needed?

24 Do you experience “self limiting behaviors”? Fear and anxiety Projections Negative Self Talk Avoidance

25 Fear Top 10 Fears in U.S. – Flying, heights, clowns, intimacy, death, rejection, people, snakes, failure, and driving

26 Physical Symptoms Physical symptoms of fear and anxiety – Hyperventilation, increased heart rate – Constriction of the peripheral blood vessels (blushing ) – Increasing muscle tension, sweating – Alertness leading to sleep disturbance – “Butterflies”; increased adrenalin

27 Emotional Symptoms Emotional symptoms of fear and anxiety – Feelings of apprehension or dread – Trouble concentrating – Feeling tense and jumpy – Anticipating the worst – Irritability – Restlessness – Watching for signs of danger – Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

28 Projection Psychological projection is a theory in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. – For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. Projection tends to come to the fore in at times of crisis

29 Effect on Fundraising You can inadvertently project the donor’s response – I’m afraid you’ll say “no” – I don’t like my boss; I’ll project my distaste and you’ll say “no” – I’m not sure this program will work; say “no” – I’ve asked for too much; say “no” According to Panas, we should not say “no” for anyone

30 Negative Self Talk Humans are constantly thinking about and interpreting situations in which we find ourselves We have an internal voice inside our head that determines how we perceive every situation Includes our conscious thoughts as well as our unconscious beliefs

31 Potential Negative Fundraising Self Talk I can’t do this! They’ll say no I’m bothering the donor when I call I am not prepared enough What if I’m asking for too much? Too little? What if I look foolish? What if he asks a question I can’t answer?

32 Avoidance The process of staying away from something or someone

33 Potential Fundraising Avoidance Behaviors Forgetting to call the donor Becoming sick on the day of a big call Not asking for the appointment Losing messages Always using e-mail Over-cultivating Writing grants, hosting events; Not developing a major gifts program

34 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE ASK How Do We Overcome and Succeed? Let's Build Hope

35 Ask to Understand Consider donors’ motivation and ask these kinds of questions – Ask them what they’d like to accomplish with their philanthropy Both now and in the future – Ask them to whom they give – Ask them why – Ask them how they feel about that giving – Ask them why they give to your charity…or why they’re considering it – LISTEN!

36 Listen Well Ask good questions Listen WITHOUT thinking about your next statement. Maintain eye contact Sit still Nod your head Be attentive to non-verbal cues Lean toward the speaker – sit up! Repeat instructions and ask follow-up questions

37 Determine Motivation Donors will tell you their intrinsic motivation – If you ask probing questions – If you listen well – If you read between the lines You can build on it to shape your ask You can use it to create the bridge – From their desires – To your organization’s needs – This is the premier job of a fundraiser

38 Acknowledge Your Stuff Consider your fundraising baggage – Be honest with yourself – Be sure you love your charity Clean up messes Makes amends Create a space for dialogue

39 Acknowledge Your Stuff Look for self-limiting behaviors – Am I afraid or anxious? – Am I projecting? – Do I speak poorly to myself? – Am I avoiding donors or tasks? If you find some, ask for help – Counselor, friend, other fundraiser – Develop techniques to overcome

40 And Remember… It’s a Journey Let's Build Hope

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