What’s the donation equation?

The Donation Equation is a new way to behave as a fundraiser and to connect with your donors. Born out of an experiment where I said “yes” to every fundraising white paper, blog, webinar and research study I could find for one whole year, the equation includes six powerful forces pulled from top industry insights that have been shown to increase the chance a donor will “give now” to your organization.


The base chance that a donor will give, based on demographics, previous charitable giving, or available resources. (This is the variable fundraiser can impact the least right now, but you can grow this in future donors like students and volunteers by talking about giving.)


The donor’s previous feeling of gratitude from your cause, and also any real or psychological incentive the donor receives from giving. Yours stewardship, free socks and tax incentives go here.


The donor’s instant feeling of connection to your cause, the person making the ask, and peers who are also giving. Changing up the signer of letters and emails and social media sharing can ramp this variable up. Remember, this connection can be “parasocial,” or with celebrities, athletes and public figures that excite the donor.


The internalized narrative the donor has about your cause’s impact, and their story as a donor. This is where authentic video, impact examples, donor profiles and referring to a donor’s history as a supporter, volunteer and previous giver really matter. This is also where “experiences” like events come in.


The answer to the question: “Why give now.” This is where challenges, matches, giving days, crowdfunding and other time-based solicitations really shine.


Anything that makes it difficult to give, from bad giving pages, too many choices for a donor, or lack of mobile-responsive content. We want this one to be as low as possible, especially for brand new donors.

Here are some slides from a recent presentation to give you a little flavor of the equation.

CASE members: download this webinar free to hear the equation explained.

Are you intrigued? Let me show you how it works

Brian is available to give you a custom presentation about how to get more scientific with your fundraising, and lay out how these six powerful forces can shape your fundraising. Drop him a line today!