Different donors give for different reasons. Successful fundraising is driven by your nonprofit organization appealing to the recipient’s reasons for giving. Consider all the ways you can leverage storytelling, imagery, and emotion in your emails. The motivation for donating is as diverse as your recipients, but research suggests most people fall into one of several categories. A primary goal as a fundraiser is to create ways to appeal to motivations people have for giving. In this series of blog posts, we discuss donor motivations and how your nonprofit can best reach these types of donors. Today, we’re discussing premium donors.

When it comes to fundraising, one of the most important things to remember is that donors give in exchange for a premium. A premium is anything that the donor receives in return for their donation, and it can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Understanding why donors give and what they expect in return will help you design a fundraising strategy that is more likely to be successful.

Donor Motivation: Premiums

Some donors enjoy the premiums you offer. When you offer a book, DVD series, product, such as a purse or jewelry made in a beneficiary community, a special trip, tickets to an event, a keepsake, a membership card, a coffee mug, a bumper sticker, a bookmark, some donors will give just to receive it.

There are two main types of premiums: front-end premiums such as stickers, return address labels, temporary tattoos, bookmarks, given to the donor in a direct mail package and then a donation request is made. Many donors give out of reciprocity with a front-end premium. It’s more difficult to offer a front-end premium via email, but you might try an ebook or digital download of a song or a video.

Back-end appeals are offered as a gift in appreciation after a donation is made. There are specific IRS regulations regarding premiums that you must review when considering a premium program.

One of the key reasons why donors give in exchange for a premium is because of the principle of reciprocity. This principle states that people are more likely to help someone who has helped them in the past. In other words, we are wired to repay favors that have been done for us.

Reciprocity is a powerful force because it is based on our innate sense of Fairness. We want to live in a world where people help each other and where favors are repaid. When someone violates this sense of Fairness by not repaying a favor, it triggers feelings of anger and frustration.

Why do donors want to receive a premium in exchange for their donation?

  • They want to feel like they are part of something larger. When donors receive a premium, they often feel more connected to the cause that they are supporting.
  • They want to receive something tangible in return for their donation. For some people, the satisfaction of knowing that their donation is helping others is enough. But for others, they like the idea of receiving something physical (like a t-shirt or coffee mug) in return for their donation.
  • Premiums help to build relationships with donors. They provide a way for you to stay in touch with your donors and show them that you appreciate their support.
  • Donor premiums provide donors with a way to show off their support for your organization. For example, if you give donors an eco-friendly tote bag at an event, they can use it when they go grocery shopping or running errands around town.
  • Another reason why donors give in exchange for a premium is because giving makes them happy. Numerous studies have shown that giving leads to increased levels of happiness and satisfaction with life.
  • Premiums often have a high perceived value, which makes donors feel like they are getting a good deal when they make a donation.
  • Premiums can create a sense of exclusivity and belonging, which encourages donors to remain loyal to a cause over time.

The key to successfully using premiums as a motivator for giving is to make sure that the premium is closely aligned with your organization’s mission and values. For example, if you’re an environmental organization, you might want to consider offering eco-friendly premiums like reusable water bottles or grocery bags. If you’re an animal welfare organization, you might want to consider offering pet food or toys as premiums. By offering premiums that are closely aligned with your mission, you’ll be more likely to appeal to potential donors who are already interested in what you do.

When it comes time to ask for donations, remember that everyone has different reasons for giving (or not giving). By understanding the concept of “the premium,” you’ll be better equipped to appeal to potential donors’ individual needs and motivations—which will ultimately lead to more successful fundraising campaigns.