• Adam Martel

Behavioral Change Philanthropy: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?


So close.


As a fundraiser, you’ve no doubt experienced that moment many times. You’ve cultivated a relationship with a prospect, put the time and effort in, only to go for the ask and ultimately be turned down.


Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Or in hindsight, you could have afforded to nurture the relationship a little longer. You may never know. But, the reality is, every donor’s situation is different and at any given time you need to knowingly or unknowingly balance countless factors for every donor in your portfolio.


There is no silver bullet when it comes to stewarding donors. And yet, imagine if you could approach each relationship with a donor with a clearer understanding - and mechanism - to help ensure greater success when it comes to securing donations?


Enter the concept of behavioral change philanthropy.


As a fundraiser, it’s imperative that you continuously improve upon the processes and approach to fundraising itself. Traditional methods of nurturing donors no longer ensure a high-quality experience, meaning it's vital for nonprofit organizations to continue to innovate in order to drive greater results.


With behavioral change philanthropy, fundraising organizations can both shift their behaviors as fundraising professionals, looking differently at how they tackle donor engagement, and the elements needed in order to drive donor gift, to improve the experience long term.


Fogg Behavioral Model Applied to Fundraising


To understand how behavior change comes into play in the advancement world, we can look to the Fogg Behavior Model developed by Dr. BJ Fogg.

a graph of the Fogg Behavioral Model
The Fogg Behavioral Model

So let’s play this out in a fundraising scenario:


Imagine Jim is a potential major gift prospect. After some time cultivating a relationship with him as a gift officer at his alma mater, you’ve recognized that he’s very motivated to give and is at a point in his career where his expendable incoming has peaked, making his ability to give also easier in comparison to the past. When you ask him for a major gift contribution to the university, your prompt is met with great enthusiasm followed by a large-scale commitment to your organization.


If it were only that easy, right?


Of course, when considering this model at scale across your portfolio you can start to see some of the challenges when it comes to finding that EXACT right moment in time for the prompt. Ask when a donor's motivation or ability to give is low or hard to do, and it’s more likely than not that your efforts come up short.


But, here’s where innovation within fundraising can change all that.

Revolutionary new approaches to engaging donors can help to remove traditional barriers to giving to ensure any donor, at any time, is able to contribute to your organization.


With financial technology like Give Now, Pay Later solutions in particular serving as the key trigger, it increases the likelihood of a successful ask as donors as the financial contribution becomes easier to do with the gift being split in four equal payments over time rather than the donor coming out of pocket. Meanwhile, with the organization gaining the full gift amount upfront, donors are increasingly motivated knowing their generosity was more quickly put to good use.


Changing one’s behavior isn’t easy. It takes time and the right elements to be successful. But for nonprofit fundraisers, putting the right elements in place for donors can lead to significant results and amazing outcomes.

Learn how the Social Good's sector's first "Give Now, Pay Later" AI-enabled fintech solution can revolutionize the way you fundraise.


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