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Breaking Down Giving Barriers

Keeping up with the tsunami of information available to help do our jobs better can be a never-ending adventure. One of the reasons I write my Fire Starters blog is to help keep a lookout for excellent resources for you.

A recent post from the always wise, Sarah Durham, Principal and Founder at Big Duck is one to take time to read:  The 5 types of donors you must inspire with your year-end appeal. Sarah shares a short, powerful recap of the “Money for Good” report from Camber Collective.

targetdonorsThe important information for YOU is the opportunity you have with your fall fundraising to reach some key donor segments.

The Money For Good ($FG) 2015 report shares “the voice of the donor in philanthropic giving.” I was intrigued about their discussion and break down of donors into these five categories or segments:

  • Contented Benefactors
  • Busy Idealists
  • Cautious Strivers
  • Unaware Potentials
  • Unengaged Critics

Using clear, bold communication is part of my own tool box when it comes to fundraising. And as you can see by the graphic shared here, $FG 2015 cuts through some of the paralysis you might feel about how to best reach key donor segments. With their data and donor feedback you get some clear direction on where to spend time with your communications.

An exciting thing I learned from the report is the biggest opportunity for behavior change is with your donors in the middle three segments.

What to do?

  1. Take a quick review of your current donors in your database and see how many you have in each of the five segments.
  2. Read through the relevant sections of $FG 2015 to access their extensive background on each of these donor types — their attitudes, behaviors, and largest barriers to giving.
  3. Make a plan for the remaining two months of this fundraising year to identify one or two of the segments and work to overcoming THEIR most significant barriers to giving. i.e. Change the giving conversation at your organization to make it more joyful, connected, and simple.
  4. Reduce the overwhelm for donors wanting to support you but having limited time or understanding of WHY you require their support.

As Sarah said in her post, “The report underscores the importance of communicating clearly, consistently, and with an eye towards building your organization’s visibility.”

Armed with the excellent information shared in $FG 2015 your communications, especially your big fall appeals, can be laser-focused. You’ll have an opportunity to craft stories and share information that will break down giving barriers.

Pay close attention to at least one of the donor segments this fall and track their actions. Cause them to feel like you know them and understand their perceived or real barriers to make a contribution. That’s when you WILL cause more action. And that is what I call fundraising at its best.

Spend time downloading and reading the study to get inspired to focus on communication that taps into more giving so you can do more good.



  • Heather says:

    I think the use of social media and crowdfunding can help with all 5 types of donors.
    Contented Benefactors- They are already giving, engaged and loving you.

    Busy Idealists. They need something quick and easy to give to, to make them feel like they contributed without much required. I recommend having a crowdfunding campaign set up on It is a free christian crowdfunding site. You don’t pay monthly fee’s or get a platform fee taken out of every donation. Crowdfunding allows for the busy people on your list to be able to give quickly and share quickly.

    Cautious Strivers – just need a little push. Again using crowdfunding to let them donate as little as they can while giving them a feeling of being a part. And you can let them know if participate by sharing your campaign, which costs them nothing, they will be helping you in a HUGE way.

    Unaware Potentials- They just need to be constantly seeing the way your organization is helping people. The more you are in front of them the better. Social media all the way.

    Unengaged Critics-online campaigns and social media can help build trust in what you are trying to accomplish. Can be used to engage and inspire the people that take a little more time to warm up.

    This was a great article. Right on with the types of people. Check out to start a campaign and start engaging your target today!

    • Excellent recommendations, Heather! Paying attention to each type of donor is key…even when we are feeling to busy to do so. It’s the time we take to customize messages that will keep donors around, right?

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