donors Posts

GlobalGiver Spotlight: Truth or Dare Mountain

by Laura Vogler, Unmarketing Intern

GlobalGiving is putting the spotlight on some creative, above-and-beyond donors in this new blog series.  We encounter incredible people every day who are doing good in very unique ways – these are their stories!

“Truth or Dare?” That’s the question being asked by Beck, Kate and Fiona, three women taking on a challenge to make a difference. The trio will be participating in the Three Peaks Challenge, which consists of climbing in the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales all within 24 hours.

In order to drum up some support, the ladies have started project called ‘Truth or Dare Mountain’. They are asked to reveal truthful statements about themselves or tackle embarrassing dares provided by donors. The higher the donation, the tougher the dare.

What have they been asked to do so far? The trio has acted out funny children’s songs, asked for piggy back rides from strangers and even bathed in a tub of cereal and milk. We don’t want to give too much away but upcoming dares include chicken hats, Buckingham Palace and Donnie Darko!

Where is all this money going? Beck, Kate and Fiona have chosen to support GlobalGiving partner organization Global Grassroots, a group promoting education, literacy and social change in the lives of women in post-conflict communities.

Have an idea for a great dare?  Want to follow the story?


Well done ladies! Keep up the good work and we’re proud to call you GlobalGivers!

Know Your Donors: What Motivates Them?

Last week, I wrote a post about creating a relationship with your donors: creating an experience and relevancy.  Today, A Small Change wrote a post about what motivates donors at all different levels: first-time, renewed and upgrading.

When a donor is already invested in your organization you can no longer use compassion as an appeal for more money.  You need to know that your volunteers, monthly donors, long-term major givers already have a strong compassion for your cause.  These people want to know what more of their money will mean for the non-profit.

Read the whole post here.

The Expectations Game (i.e. the Failure of 18-1)

I thought the day after arguably one of the biggest upsets in sports history would be a good opportunity to talk about expectations – why we have them,  where they get us and how we can manage them.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were expected, by most, to win Super Bowl XLII – and why not? They had played 18 games this season without losing.  Reasonable expectation, no?

The result of last night’s underwhelming-until-the-last-four-minutes game produced nationwide headlines of “Giant Upset” and “Shocker” – playing up the expectations of the Patriots to win – while the Boston publications, like the Globe and the Herald, furiously backpedaled.  “Pressure Got to Them,” “Finish Wasn’t as Shocking as It Seemed” and “Nobody’s Perfect” were prominent headlines – downplaying previous expectations.

But we’re not here to talk sports.  We’re talking expectations.

1.  Why do we have them?  When we invest in something, – whether it’s our time or money (or in the case of some sports fans, our souls) – we want something in return – monetary repayment, merchandise, affection, a good feeling, just one more win.  It’s a natural occurance; exchanging of currency, in whatever its form, should result in a product equal in value.

2.  Where do they get us?  Sometimes our expectations get us what we want.  Without them, we’d be aimless.  How would we know how much to invest, if we didn’t know what we wanted in return?  How would we know something’s value if we didn’t know what it was worth to us?  But there are other times when our expectations do lead to disappointment and anger – and not just at opposing sports teams.  So…

3.  How do we manage them?  Sometimes what we want and what we get are not the same.  And sometimes an identical investment by two separate people yields different results as well.  So how do we value our returns?  This comes down to communication – on both sides.

When you order at a restaurant, you have to tell the waiter what you want to eat.  In return, you expect to be served what you requested.  You can’t walk into a restaurant, put a specific amount of money on the table and reasonably expect to be served what you wanted without asking for it.  Similarly, after ordering, a waiter can’t bring you something completely different and reasonably expect you to be happy with it (or leave a good tip).

When you make any investment, – or donation – it is important to be clear about what you expect in return.  But at the same time, organizations – including nonprofits – are responsible for articulating what an investor or donor can expect to receive in return – whether it’s a product, a receipt or an update.  Clear communication reduces the occurence of missed expectations.  The tricky part happens when what we think the investor/donor wants isn’t the same as what they actually want.  This disconnect can cause disappointment.

Today Seth Godin analyzed similar marketing motivators: fear, hope and love., citing that one of these three things influences all of our actions.  If that’s true, then our expectations are derived from the same place.  If we act out of fear, then our expectation is that by acting, we can stop being afriad.  If we act out of hope, then our expectations is that by acting, our desire will be fulfilled.

Are we doing enough to meet donors’ expectations?  Do we know what the donor really wants?  How can we reduce the disconnect between what we think the donor should want and what they are actually expecting from us?

Donor’s Bill of Rights

Over the past several years there’s been an interesting change in non-profit sector – as more and more non-profits try to figure out how to use the Internet to leverage and expand their donor base, more and more donors are starting to take a harder look at their giving and asking more questions about why they should give and what their donations are used for. As charities continue to innovate and respond to the market, however, I think that more and more things will change.

Thanks to the success of sites like GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose, and Kiva, people are realizing that small donations can make a huge difference. And, thanks to the Internet, people are beginning to see that their participation on a site can be as important as making a donation. Offering people the ability to review, comment, and discuss the impact that projects have and to suggest improvements, changes, or even alternative charities, reminds non-profits that quality matters. And more importantly, these discussions can happen at scale, be it reviewing the American Red Cross over at Charity Navigator, or reviewing a grassroots project here on GlobalGiving. No non-profit is too big or too small to participate in the discussion.

What’s most amazing about this open, on-going conversation is that it can happen between donors and the people that they are donating to. For the first time, individuals, not large organizations, are deciding where funds should go. This wisdom of the crowds approach is not only more efficient, it’s also a lot more fun for donors.

Classically, people would give their money to a large organization and the only that they’d expect in return was a tax receipt and some junk mail asking them for more money. As we move forward, I think it’s important for the non-profit sector to realize this and to make some substantial changes in the way that they view donors. I think that the changes that we’re seeing is the emergence of a set of “donors rights.”

Some of these rights are:

  • Donors should learn how their money is being used.
  • Donors should have a guarantee of their satisfaction, with recourse in the form of a refund or reallocation.
  • Donors should have the freedom to remix and redistribute information about the causes that they support and non-profits should enable this through open standards like Creative Commons and published APIs.
  • Donors should be allowed to make a donation without their mailbox (or inbox) being filled with junk mail, spam, or bacn.
  • Donors should have an equivalent of customer support, where they can easily ask questions about the charity or how their money is being used and get high-quality answers.
  • Donors should feel valued and appreciated for their generosity, rather than someone to guilt into giving more.

I think perhaps what’s most interesting is that donors already have all of these “rights” in the retail market. If you walk into a store, “the customer is always right.” So why should non-profits be any different?

This is by no means a complete list, so if you think of something else that should be added, let us know in the comments. This is, after all, an open discussion.