By Nakul Arora:
Raising money is a big concern for any NGO operating today; it gets bigger and bigger as the NGO’s needs increases and the donors become more cautious with increasing funds. For a successful raise, the non-profit other than being accountable and transparent in its operations also has to keep the potential donors happy by ensuring, though in a subtle way, that the money they are giving is being utilized for the right purposes. Thus, it’s very essential for the NGO to communicate properly and with the right intent with the donors for there is always a risk of it irritating the donors with the use of inappropriate language or being too direct in its approach.
The use of the right language in communication with donors was recently further highlighted with a research that focussed on finding out the impact that a particular set of words had while used in conversation with potential donors. This research, conducted at Indiana University, focussed on the usage of the five words: caring, compassionate, friendly, kind and helping, to thank the potential supporters who were calling in for considering support to a charity drive being run by a local radio station. The volunteers attending the calls were instructed to use one of the five words while thanking the caller for considering giving donation.
The results of the research showed a positive response, for the woman who heard the use of at-least one of these words in their ‘thank you’ ended up donating at an average of around 100$ whereas the woman who received a normal thank you, donated a bit less, at an average of 83$. What’s more interesting to observe was the fact that such words only influenced women donors and had almost no impact on male donors. Also, Ms. Shang, assistant professor at Indiana University and the person behind this research, further states that use of subtle language, which appeals to their compassion, in communication with potential donors increases the prospects of a higher fund-raise. This research has stirred up conversations within the philanthropic community in America, on the potential impact of certain words on a donor’s generosity and how can this be used by a fund-raiser to his/her benefit. It will be interesting to see how this shapes out in the future!