Why Should Donors Give to ANY Nonprofit Organization?

Why donors should give to nonprofit organizations

Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale via Compfight cc

It’s a strange question, but it’s potentially a powerful one. 

I’m reading a sales book by John Jantsch called Duct Tape Selling (affiliate link). He encourages salespeople to challenge a potential client with the question, “Why choose anything?” (to solve the problem that the salesperson’s product solves).

The normal question we (salesfolks) challenge prospects with is, “Why should you choose me over the other guy?”

Asking the question, “Why choose anything?” allows the salesperson and the buyer to collaborate and truly understand the problems that need to be solved before proposing solutions. In typical sales transactions, sales professionals skim the surface and try to beat out the other salesperson by trying to give the same thing or something slightly better at a cheaper price.

It becomes a battle of “mine’s better than theirs” instead of “mine solves the problems that you and I agreed you needed to have solved.”

“Why choose anything?” gets to the root of the problem. It forces the buyer and the salesperson to push beyond the ‘we’ve just always kind of done it this way’ mentality to evaluate if there’s a need in the first place and then to solve the need from the ground up.

From what I can tell (and have heard) about people’s giving habits, I think the question might work well in a nonprofit donor development context, also.

How This Sales Scenario Might Apply to Donor Development

When I read that question, “Why choose anything?”, I immediately thought of my nonprofit clients and their struggles with fundraising.

It seems there is often a play to capture the few people who are actually giving already.

In other words, nonprofits battle over the people who give to certain causes vs. helping new donors develop a giving ethic in the first place.

Is there a way to collaborate with people on the question, “Why give at all?”

Challenge their selfishness or fears about giving or distrust. Connect to the spark of generosity that is buried beneath all of the distraction, busyness, and

The pool of individuals who aren’t giving (but who have the means) is huge. Perhaps some sort of education on giving in the first place is in order.

  • Do people not give because they don’t trust nonprofits?
  • Are they just so horrible with money that they need everything they make down to the last penny?
  • Are nonprofits bad at convincing donors that their causes are worthy?
  • Do nonprofits tell stories of need alone or stories of collaboration with those who give?

I don’t know if there are simple answers to those questions or if I’m suggesting anything new.

Consider these questions, though, and the most basic one of them all: Why should people give at all?

Help them answer that question.

If they discover their own reason, then there’ll be more giving for everyone.

Thoughts? Please leave them in the comments.


I recommend Duct Tape Selling by the way. I think you’d get a lot out of it even if you’re in nonprofit development and not sales per se.


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