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‘Giving identity’ seen as vital for fundraising

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By helping existing and potential donors develop a “giving identity” for themselves, nonprofits can encourage supporters to give their time and money, a new study says.

Giving can be spurred by changing the context in which people give, says the article, published in the August 2009 issue of Stanford Knowledgebase and written by Jennifer Aaker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Satoshi Akutsu of Hitotsubashi University.

When soliciting a donation for a cause that has a personal or emotional connection, for example, approaching a donor in a personal setting may elicit a better response than a workplace meeting.

Making prospects aware that other members of their social profile have given to the cause tends to elicit a larger donation, the article says.

And giving can be increased by asking a prospect to volunteer time before asking for money.

The mere act of giving also can affect a person’s “giving identity” by making them see themselves as a giver of a particular type.

Among people who say they do not plan to give or volunteer, the most common reason is that they are unable to find the right opportunity.

By making opportunities available and by adjusting the “ask” to fit different giving identities, nonprofits can improve their fundraising, the paper says.

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