Speaker volumeOver your career, you’re going to listen to fundraisers — more fundraisers than you can shake a stick at. And that’s great… but, what you really need to do is listen to your donors. Because what donors say to fundraisers is way more important than what we fundraisers say to each other.

Here are 7 never-published research secrets we want to share with you – because you need to hear your donors, loud and clear. We’re pretty sure these secrets will make your good works even better.

Good Works Research Secret – 1

95% of Canadian donors give because of the way it makes them FEEL.

84% say their giving is an expression of their hearts and souls.

How well do you express emotions in your communications with your donors? Probably not well enough. The next time you’re talking to your donors – whether it’s a thank you letter or new web content – speak openly and explicitly about feelings.

Good Works Research Secret – 2

Donors want to see results.

In focus groups, they’ve told us over and over that they want to see what their last donation achieved before they make their next one.

In our most recent online poll, almost 70% of Canadian donors say that charities should do a better job of telling them where their money was spent – and what impact their money had on your mission and program. Your thank you letter could say that you’ve already begun work on the project that was solicited for. Your next newsletter can make specific reference to a recent appeal and talk about work that’s underway because of the funding that appeal generated.

Good Works Research Secret – 3

Six in ten Canadians say they wish they had more passion in their lives.

Are you giving them a healthy dose of the passion, excitement and enthusiasm the people in your organization feel for furthering your cause?

Do you show it explicitly? You should!

Good Works Research Secret – 4

Donors are sick and tired of YOU deciding how they should send and receive communications from you. They want to choose the ways in which they hear from you – and the ways in which you’ll hear from them. Offering a menu of choices to your donors (e-receipts, frequency of appeals, phoning or not) shows respect. They love that.

Good Works Research Secret – 5

Four out of five Canadian donors say that their giving is an extension of their spiritual beliefs.

More than 90% of donors say that helping others in need is an essential part of their human experience. Do you talk to your donors about what your organization believes? About humanity?

You can probably go a lot deeper than you are now.

Good Works Research Secret – 6

More than a third of the donors we surveyed in late 2010 said they wished the charities they donate to would invite them to do more than just give money.

Are you inviting your donors to volunteer? To spread the word to family and friends? To campaign for you? There’s a big opportunity here.

Good Works Research Secret – 7

Our polling shows that 90% of Canadian donors believe that their donations are used by charities in an efficient and effective way.

Focus groups however, have told us that these same donors want annual reports and financial statements available to them upon request.

We recommend that you repeatedly offer donors a name, phone number and email address of someone on staff who will be happy to answer donor questions about your organization’s finances. The vast majority of them won’t call – but they’ll really appreciate the transparency you’ve shown.