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Scuba diver

The things we do for the ones we love

ByClaire Fuller |FundraisingConsultancyMarketingNews |07 August 2019

Over the last few days, there’s been lots of talk in the office about summer holidays (well it is August after all).  After talking about the range of sunny (and not so sunny) destinations that people are heading to, conversation has inevitably turned to the topic of what they’re going to do when they get there.  This is what really piqued my interest!

I was excited to hear of a colleague planning a scuba diving lesson and wondered whether this was a long-held ambition? “No, not at all,” far from being an ambition of hers, her 14-year-old daughter needed an adult to accompany her!

Hearing this heartwarming story, got me thinking.  What other examples did people have of things (they wouldn’t ordinarily choose to do) that they’ve done because it helped, encouraged or supported someone they love? 

Here are just a few of the brilliant responses I got:

  • Gone on the London Eye despite being scared of heights
  • Going camping and having to use the communal facilities
  • Watching Minecraft videos on YouTube to be able to have a conversation with the kids
  • Learning to kayak despite having a fear of open water
  • Providing spider removal services (enough said)

Yes, these examples are fun(ny) but I also couldn’t help thinking there’s something really interesting about just how far people are prepared to go in facing their fears, or stepping outside their comfort zone to do something for others. 

Of course, a key factor in this is “who” they are going the extra mile for. In each of the cases above it’s true to say that it was for someone they love or respect, a person who means a lot to them.

But could the same be true of supporters of your charity?

We often hear stories of supporters taking on amazing challenges like cycling 100s of miles, completing parachute jumps or running marathons, but how many of these individuals would choose to push themselves to their physical limits if it wasn’t for a cause that they had a strong connection with?

When people choose to support a cause, it’s often because they have some prior knowledge of it, be it through a personal connection or because they’ve been gripped by a story they’ve heard – something has made their heart identify with the cause, and it’s this that’s spurred them on to get involved.

Considering emotion as a motivator for charitable support, can also cause us to challenge our thinking around how we approach fundraising.  As a recent blog post from Future Fundraising Now indicates:

4 Things fundraising is…. and isn’t:

  1. Fundraising is heart, not head – Like our motivation for getting involved in the first place, giving is an emotional act rather than a rational one.  To encourage people to support a cause you should work to connect with them emotionally rather than just sharing facts and figures
  2. Fundraising is about action, not education – Many supporters will want to know about your charity but it’s unlikely that just knowing the details will encourage them to give.  Inspiring them with examples of ways that their own actions transform lives is much more likely to encourage them to get involved
  3. Fundraising is specific, not general – If the examples above are anything to go by, people remember specific situations. Fundraising works in the same way.  Giving people specific reasons to get involved and providing real-life examples of the difference they will make is a great motivator for action
  4. Fundraising is about donors, not organisations – Just as my colleagues and I have done things outside our comfort zones because of our love for other people, it’s people that should be at the heart of fundraising too!  When charities talk about how well they are doing, this is unlikely to generate the most positive giving response, however if you appeal to the values of your supporters and recognise that they give because they are great, the impact could be even greater!

What about you?  What motivates you to move outside your comfort zone? Could you apply this to your fundraising strategy?

There are many individual factors which can affect a person’s decision to engage with and support a cause.  Our Fundraising Consultants have years of experience creating and delivering effective fundraising strategies – to discuss how we can help you to deliver even greater impact please get in touch today, we’d love to chat!


Future Fundraising Now

Photo by Jason Chamberlain on Unsplash



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