What makes a donor decide to give? Understanding how thought and behavior impact decision-making can help answer this question.
Behavioral science researchers like those at the Center for Advanced Hindsight study human behavior using systematic experimentation and observation. A key insight from such research reveals that emotions can be divided into three states: Yes!, No! and Unengaged. These emotional states have a significant impact on how we make decisions.
You can read all about this research in our paper, but essentially, to be successful, fundraisers should tap into a person’s Yes! emotions. These include pleasure, laughter, anticipation and nostalgia.
Let’s take a closer look at nostalgia.
Nostalgia is a powerful tool. It has the remarkable ability to transport individuals back in time, evoking memories and a sentimental longing for the past. Nonprofits can use this emotion to foster deeper connections with donors and help inspire them to leave a planned gift.
Here are some ways to harness nostalgia:
Organize alumni reunions, milestone celebrations or virtual gatherings that bring together alumni from different eras. Encourage attendees to share memories, photographs and stories of past experiences.
- After the event, send a handwritten card to each person thanking them for attending. Include a photo from the event. Introduce the idea of planned giving as a way for them to support future generations of students.
Establish a scholarship or endowment in honor of a beloved teacher, administrator or influential alumni. Highlight the impact these individuals had on your organization and its students.
- Create a targeted marketing campaign for alumni that will remember or were impacted by the individual. Invite them to join others in their class in honoring the legacy of this special person by considering a planned gift.
Develop remembrance programs that honor the memory of loved ones who received care from your organization. Create physical or virtual spaces where donors can share memories, photos and tributes.
- Offer donors the opportunity to leave a lasting impact by establishing a legacy program as a tribute to their loved one. It could be a scholarship, research grant or community initiative that celebrates the memory of the individual while supporting your mission.
Arts and Culture Nonprofits
Organize special performances or events that pay tribute to influential artists, past productions, significant eras or iconic moments in your nonprofit’s history. Host exhibitions or virtual galleries showcasing the evolution of art forms over the years. Highlight influential artists, landmark performances, or iconic artwork to evoke a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the artistic heritage.
- These events could be held specifically for your current legacy society members as part of your stewardship program. Or invite legacy members to a “special preview” performance before opening to a wider audience. You could also do an invite-only event for your best planned giving prospects.
Harnessing the power of nostalgia is a powerful strategy for inspiring donors to create meaningful legacies through a planned gift.
Learn more strategies based on behavioral science. Download our paper “6 Eye-Opening Insights That Planned Giving Marketers Must See.”