A study posted on the Association of Fundraising Professionals website shows how donors are influenced by what other donors do: Knowledge of others' giving can increase contributions. The study describes a test that took place during a public radio station's membership drive:
Some callers would then be told that another donor had recently given $75 (or $180 or $300, three different amounts were tested); other callers were told nothing. . . . Those donors who were told that another member had contributed $300 gave an average of $119.70, while those who were not told about other contributions gave an average of $106.72. . . . Researchers also found that donors who were told about the $300 gift were more likely to give the next year and contribute a higher amount.
Giving is a social act; it's no surprise, really, that social information aids giving. That fact is easily lost on those of us who rely on direct-response fundraising -- where giving is pretty much private.
Get your fundraising into the donor's real world. Find ways of sharing social information that will put giving into a context for donors.