By understanding donor motivations, a nonprofit can develop a solid strategy to expand reach through marketing initiatives. We use research to determine where a nonprofit falls on the path and determine whether we have the opportunity to shape messaging to target new donors or identify when and how to nurture current donors.

Here are the stepping stones in the path:

  1. EXISTENCE. This is the most basic awareness of a cause/issue – a donor knows it exists. (Note, your nonprofit does not yet exist at this stage.)
  2. EMOTION. A donor begins to care about the cause.
  3. AWARENESS. A donor becomes aware that your nonprofit is connected to the cause they care about.
  4. BRAND. When a donor becomes aware of your reputation, for instance, if you are well-known for your involvement with a particular cause.
  5. CONFIDENCE. A donor trusts that your organization can deliver on its promises and is making an impact on the cause. At this point, a donor is primed for a donation solicitation. They know about the cause, your organization and are buying into your mission.
  6. ASK. As long as it includes a clear and straightforward goal.

But, a nonprofit shouldn’t just stop here at the ASK. So many nonprofits continue the cycle of just asking in all of their communications. Some aren’t even aware they are doing it. To move a donor into the cycle of repeated donations, an organization needs to move to the next three steps before repeating the ASK.

This is what we call the SPIN CYCLE (we’re sure your fundraising counterparts would love for all of your donors to have made it this far down the path.)

  1. CONNECTION. This is when a donor needs to feel linked to your organization through regular communication about how you are delivering on your mission.
  2. RECOGNITION. Every donor wants to be acknowledged for their contribution; in fact, many are motivated to donate for the thanks and admiration they receive from donating.
  3. SATISFACTION; A donor also wants to feel that they did something worthwhile and made a difference.

Repeating CONNECTION, RECOGNITION and SATISFACTION are critical for a donor to make the cycle again back to CONFIDENCE and be ready for another donation solicitation.