What Donors Want: What I learned from interviewing donors


This post was written by Colleen Froehlich, media and marketing lead at Zealous Good. 

For my job at Zealous Good, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the generous people who have donated using Zealous Good. Through interviewing them, I learned a lot about what donors want. From what motivates them to donate, to what they want out of the donation experience.

Consider this list the next time your charity needs a donation. It comes down to 4 simple things:

1. The easier the better.

One of the main things that donors emphasized was how much they like their donation process  to be easy and efficient. If you have a donation button or page on your site, don’t hide it! Charity Water does a great job of cleanly and simply displaying their donation information.

2. Explain how the donations will be used.

You need to tell your charities story. But this doesn’t mean you have to rely on just words. Use photo and video documentation to tell donors what your organization is all about.  It’s one thing to say how a donation will be used, but it’s another to show it.

Zealous Good charity, 826Chicago, uses photos and quotes from the students they tutor in their after-school program.

Social media is another great way to broadcast small updates, to create a better understanding of your charity’s impact. Instagram, in particular, is a great visual medium to share donation successes with donors.

3. Share the donation story.

 Don’t leave them hanging! Donors love to hear back from the charities they donated to, see how their goods have helped, and learn how their donation has impacted the charity. Whether it’s a quick email to a donor or a newsletter that highlights several of your donation success stories, the importance of a follow-up can not be underestimated.

This is a quote from Zealous Good donor, Erica A., after she received a follow-up email from the charity she donated to.

“A week later, I received a picture of about 6 girls from the track team wearing my [running] clothes and shoes and a big sign that said thank you and a really sweet note, and I just thought, okay this is totally awesome”  Erica A. Zealous Good Donor

Erica is now one of our biggest and most vocal supporters!

 4. Inspire More Good.

After their first experience donating through Zealous Good, many of the donors I talked to were inspired to keep doing good. So ask yourself, what about your charity/donation experience will create repeat donors?

In addition to donating, if a donor has a positive donation experience, they might spread the word to family, friends and colleagues. I have heard from donors who were inspired to have a clothing swap with friends and donate the remaining items. No matter what form, the good continues on!

Along with  facilitating donations, Zealous Good actively promotes our charities needs and successes through our newsletter and social media channels. If you’d like us to help tell your charity’s story, consider joining our list of over 200 Chicagoland nonprofits!

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