Charity Fundraising and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Something I’ve learnt from writing, publishing and observing charity fundraising campaigns… Usually campaigns which raise funds for the lower/lowest tiers of Maslow’s tend to do much better, because it is something that people have experienced, can understand, or relate to.

For causes that fall in the middle, a campaign will likely only do better if there is a government or mainstream media push to highlight the issue. One example is the focus on elderly isolation during the height of COVID-19 in mid 2020.
Before this focus, elderly campaigns tended to perform the worst amongst other campaigns for food, transport and more.

Which brings me to my next topic… Retention.

Acquisition is almost always very costly. It seems that many focus a lot on acquiring, but do little to nothing for retention and preventing donor churn.

When you retain donors for a longer period, there is an opportunity to build a relationship with them, turn them into stronger supporters for your charity, and also move them up the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for your charity’s less “popular” causes to gain support and funding.

To do this, charities will have to shift away from the conscious/unconscious “let’s acquire and forget about them till we need funds again” mindset and move towards treating donors better, and being a little more personal (or at least less standoffish) with them.

Let donors know that they matter and that your charity cares about them too. All good “selling” is serving, and that means serving your donors as well.

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