So, you want to increase the giving from your caseload donors this year-end? There is a proven formula that will nearly guarantee this with most of your donors. It is outlined in the book The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches by Daniel Oppenheimer and Christopher Olivola.

While this book was published more than 10 years ago, the principles in it are timeless.

I was especially interested in one principle: how tangibility (specifics) in the donor offer increases giving. Here is what this means:

An intangible donor offer has:

  • No description of the problem
  • No geographic focus
  • No specific mention of how the gift will be used

A tangible donor offer has:

  • A description of the problem being solved
  • A geographic focus
  • Specific information on how the gift will be used

The research shows that donors who are given a tangible offer give three times more than those who are not given a tangible offer.

This is a principle we have known for years. Specificity increases giving. And it really increases if your offer matches the passions and interests of the donor.

So, as this year comes to a close and you are preparing offers for your donors in mid, major, or planned giving, do these 4 things to increase giving:

  1. Match your offer to your donor’s interests and passions.
  2. Tell the donor what the problem is you are going to solve. Be specific and add emotion to it, not just the facts.
  3. If possible, match the geographic focus of the offer to the geographic interest of the donor.
  4. And finally, tell the donor how their gift will be used.

Then stand back and watch what happens. We think you will be surprised at the difference these tweaks will make for your fundraising efforts.