Why do people give?

2.5 years of my journey with LetsEndorse, I have seen many “Donate now” appeal emails from NGOs, which begin with:

“Our organization is looking for new donors!”

This is an absurd statement to make and makes the reader think-

“Why do you need new donors? Are the last donors not sticking around?”

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our potential givers and understand why would they decide to give their hard-earned money? What are they seeking? Clearly, no one wants to be a “Donor”. (who gets inspired by that idea!? Ever heard anyone say that it was their dream to become a donor one day?). On the other hand, people do see themselves becoming leaders, centers of influence, those who make a difference!

This aspiration of your potential givers should be on the top-of-your-mind when you make an appeal. Let’s sit back and evaluate the reasons which trigger ‘GIVING‘. The answer to why people give, is diverse and here is a short list:

  • It might help someone they know personally.
  • They are very sure of the person who is appealing for the cause.
  • The POTENTIAL positive impact of their contribution on their LOCAL community, is evident.
  • The POTENTIAL positive impact of their contribution on a COMMUNITY THEY IDENTIFY WITH, is evident.
  • They feel grateful and want to give back.
  • They relate to the cause and might have overcome the same challenge in their lives, that the project aims to solve.
  • They want to ‘FEEL GOOD’ and be seen as a leader/role-model in their circle of friends, family and community.
  • They want to feel IMPORTANT and USEFUL.
  • They are looking for like-minded people and be a part of a larger community of do-gooders.
  • The project has a great emotional appeal or a genuine story associated.
  • They want to simulate/follow the giving patterns of a friend they admire or a leader they look up to.
  • They would rather want to see a part of their tax going towards a micro-change.
  • The project buttresses and reflects their beliefs and ideas.
  • The project might actually create the largest perceived impact for the asked sum.
  • The project maximized self-sufficiency, esteem and might have the long-term foreseeable impact that the donor actually wanted to witness.

Everyone has a personal reason to donate

Do you see what these answers are pointing at? Most have a personal motivation to give back. It is about the potential givers and what they look forward to or desire at the moment.
At the same time, the reason people give is also up to the appeal. Keeping this in mind,
  • Give people a personal reason to give,
  • Motivate them on a personal front (=touching upon any of the above)
(This doesn’t mean that you need to write numerous appeals hoping to touch on every single reason. But you can easily offer multiple reasons to give in a single appeal.)


  • People don’t know why they should give, until you give them a reason. The reason has to motivate them on a personal level.
  • Also, at LetsEndorse, people Endorse, Give back and Contribute and NOT “DONATE”.

Hope I have made my point! 🙂