Beyond The Data: The Psychology Of Fundraising

Make no mistake. We love data. We trust data. We believe in data…. But we also believe in the power of human emotions. 

Data has become so powerful in mapping and predicting human behaviour, we often lose touch with the hearts and minds driving the behaviour. So, let’s look at both – what does the data tell us about donor behaviour and what is the soft side of what is driving that behaviour.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Donors must be able to relate your mission and your ask. However, if you ask them to put themselves in the victim’s shoes, it causes distress and they can clam up. Rather, ask for sympathy – to imagine how the victim feels. This is a richer, and safer place to start.

One vs. Many

While some people are influenced by the statistical view of a situation, most are influenced by the closeness and vividness of the suffering of those in need. Known as the “identifiable victim effect” people often prefer to help a single identifiable victim rather than the masses. Know when to balance the stats that demonstrate the magnitude of your mission, with the individual stories about the impact you have on the ground.

The Time-Ask Effect

The world works on more than monetary currencies. In the charitable sector, it is common for an ask to be for time in the form of volunteering, or money in the form of financial donations. People inherently put different values on time and money, and if you are asking for both, the order in which you ask can have an impact on how much is given if at all. When asked for money first and time second, people react more analytically and conservatively. When asked for time first, and money second, people start from a place of personal experience and react through emotion. This latter path is more likely to lead to a donation and larger amounts.

Similarity

As much as we all want to believe that our human nature drives us to give to all equally without bias, the science of psychology tells us otherwise. Studies using Minimal Group Paradigm methodology have demonstrated that people show favouritism for people for their own “in-group”. At face-value this statement can conjure up unsavoury images of distrimination and favouritism. Rest assured that similarities can be found beyond the traditional go-tos – similarity is established when a donor can see aspects of their own self in the recipient or can see a clear path on how they could become like the person in need.

Don’t Oversell the Problem

When communications focus on the size of a problem, donors can shut down due to an instinct to save the greatest portion of people Vs. the greatest number of people. This means that rather than save 10 out of 1000 people from cancer, the majority of people would rather use the same or even more resources to save 9 out of 10 people from heart disease.

Manage the Bucket

Similarly, people can be reluctant to give when a problem seems too big to make any tangible, noticeable difference. Known as the “drop in a bucket” effect charities need to ensure that donors know that their contributions will have an impact.

Numbed by Numbers

Again, a cautionary tale to avoid overestimating the problem, or focusing too much on the numbers…humans have a tendency to neglect the scope of the problem when dealing with social issues. This is called scope insensitivity. People do not scale up their efforts in proportion to a problem’s true size. For example, a donor willing to give $200 to help one person might only be willing to give $100 to help 100 people, instead of the proportional amount.

Power of Peer Pressure

Psychologists already know that people rely on cues from others to make decisions. The playground and our high school years are a testament to this. Recent studies have revealed that social information can lead to higher donations when used properly. While you certainly want to welcome donations of any size, and you want to ensure that you don’t alienate or scare away any potential donors, research indicates that a suggested giving level in the 90th-95th percentile can lead to larger donations. When choosing online suggested giving levels, have an option near your average donation size but be sure to present more generous options.

Coveting the Winning Team

We must admit, while there is romance in fighting for the underdog there is something great about being on the winning team. Fundraising progress bars (a.k.a. The thermometer) can be a great way to show your fundraising campaign’s progress, but it also helps you motivate people to give. While this unfortunately means that you may be in for some tough slugging at the beginning of your campaign, the good news is that the closer you get to your goal, the more willing people will be to give. Why? People tend to feel a greater sense of accomplishment when they contribute at the end of a winning effort than when they contribute early on. We all remember the joy and excitement of the winning goal

Fundraising is a human to human initiative. Mind the data, but don’t forget to embrace and leverage the power of human emotions. Integrating these insights into your messaging can get your campaigns from good to great. Want to learn more? We can help. Let’s do this.

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle has over 18 years of experience in marketing and operations. She has worked in traditional brand management for global consumer packaged good brands. In addition, she has worked in marketing and business strategy for the public sector, including Canada 150 for the Royal Canadian Mint.

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Project Manager / Account Strategist

What we are looking for

We are looking for a purpose-driven creative mind that thrives in helping clients bring their projects and aspirations to life. You will work with our clients to help them develop their strategic direction and build the marketing plan to bring it to life. You will have the pleasure (for the most part 😁) of working closely with our internal team and partners consisting of traditional and digital marketing, creative and graphic design, web developers, as well as other areas of the agency. 

You will work very closely with our team to manage, schedule, organize, and help create and implement client strategy. You will be working with several accounts and need to be able to manage your time effectively and work well on tight deadlines. 

Company Overview

karmadharma is a creative agency that helps enterprising organizations who want to do better in the world, do better. (We also put this into action and try very hard to do better every day!) Because when do-gooders do good, the results for all will be extraordinary. Our Ottawa-based creative agency is looking for a like minded human to join us in this Marketing Coordinator role.

We are growing and are looking for passionate and qualified people to join our team of extraordinary and eclectic people.

We need you to

  • Be an awesome team member
  • Make a difference in the world (No pressure. 😁)
  • Become a trusted advisor to our clients
  • Understand client needs and find creative solutions to help them achieve their goals. 
  • Understand your client sector and its challenges in order to seize opportunity of growth and make the appropriate recommendations. 
  • Develop, implement and execute strategic marketing plans
  • Coordinate initiatives with internal team and partners, 
  • Ensure projects are within scope of work, budget and in line with their branding.
  • Manage your time judiciously 

We need your

  • Strong emotional intelligence and a growth mindset (If you know everything, we are not the right place for you.)
  • Ability to not take yourself too seriously
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively, and anticipate client’s needs
  • Great understanding of traditional and emerging marketing channels
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-sensitive environment, managing multiple tasks with varying priorities. 
  • Familiarity with the latest trends, technologies and methodologies in creative strategy, marketing, etc.
  • Great writing and communication skills in both French and English

Your know-how

  • A strong desire to make a positive impact in the world
  • A good head on your shoulders
  • Kindness, empathy and compassion
  • A minimum of 7 years experience in marketing strategy or any related field 
  • And if you are on a journey to become a better version of yourself, you probably fit the team! 

We offer

  • Permanent, full-time position
  • Flexible schedule;
  • Possibility of remote work;
  • Office located in the Westboro district, close to all services
  • Competitive salary according to experience and qualifications;
  • Benefits.
  • Professional training.
  • Unlimited time-off
  • Office close between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please submit a resume that showcases the required responsibilities and skill sets above. 

Only those whose skills and qualifications closely match the requirements of this position will be contacted.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle is an intensely caring, and lovably nerdy, triple-threat: her creative, strategic & engineer brain are the perfect recipe for taking your organization to the next level.

Brian

Brian Mikula

Account Strategist

The entrepreneur, he will ‘tea’ you up for success (that would be more funny if you knew he founded a tea company). But seriously, this guy has a mind for marketing.

Assia Merazi

Creative Director

Mrs. Creative Worldwide hailing straight from Dubai, Assia is eager to unleash her strategic design genius on your brand. Yalla!

Jenna Araujo

Creative Lead

Jenna is the Swiss Army knife of creative…with a smile. She’s got a design solution for almost any problem accompanied by the most infectious giggle in the industry.

Geneviève
Côté-Nault

Account Coordinator

Gen will bring the energy to kick-start your project and the grit to see it through. Her conscience will find you the best strategy and probably save the planet along the way.

Jennifer
Lim-Tamkican

Creative Designer

Having done it all as a marketing freelancer, Jennifer applies a very thoughtful & practical mindset to her designs. She is the perfect combination of creative and cool in art and in life.

Karen Bramhill

Account Strategist

Artist, epidemiologist, operations specialist and true lover of life; Karen is a true polymath that brings a wealth of care and knowledge to every engagement. And for the record, ambiguity and her are not the best of friends.

Bárbara d’Oro

Content Strategist

Barbara is a journalist by trade who loves talking to people, asking great questions and giving a voice to their stories. Being Brazilian, she also loves a mean BBQ marathon at your local churrascaria.

A fresh coat of paint.

We are proud to have helped Nelligan Law refresh their look and feel. A refreshing take for a law firm, Nelligan decided to show off the more human side of their firm and their commitment to the community in their new identity. Watch the new promotional videos and see who the real hero of the story is.

Corporate Assets.

As part of a Brand Makeover for Nelligan, we created essential corporate elements, such as a website re-design, business cards, stationary, practice group guides and other marketing materials. Here is a just a taste of some of our work: 

The Campaign.

We hope you never have to call us…

Sometimes life can get messy. No one plans for this, but when it happens, you want the best on your side. These ads focus on those times. “We hope you never need us, but if you do..”

 Instead of putting our expertise and experience and the heart of the story, we chose to demonstrate our empathy and understanding for the difficulties facing our clients.Our clients are truly the heroes of our story.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

A Buddha-loving, health nut who races in Ironmans and runs marathons in his free time. He brings a bit of heart to each of his clients. Just wait and see how accurate that statement really is. 

Francesca Désulmé

Account Coordinator

Artist, communications enthusiast and social justice advocate, Francesca brings a plurality of lived experiences to the table. Organized, passionate and creative, she’ll help bring your projects to the next level.

Alan Horic

Senior Digital Ads Strategist

Alan is all-knowing (no joke) when it comes to deploying your digital marketing strategy; from search to display to Account-Based Marketing, he can turn your ads into a revenue generating machine.

Brent Martel

Web Development & Marketing Automation

Brent is our resident experts on making websites that convert and simplifying your marketing technology to make it work for you. Sounds good, right?

Rob Hyams

Chief Creative Officer

Rob has been building brands and campaigns since he came out of the womb…or at least that’s what it feels like. He has a rare gift; an ability to distill the complex into a succinct and compelling story.

We are all Care Givers.

The Montfort Hospital Foundation has been promoting the well-being of Eastern Ontario since 1986. It solicits, receives and administers funds that enable the Montfort Hospital to pursue its mission and achieve its objectives.

Recently the Foundation has launched a Regional Health Hub in Orleans that houses many specialists under one roof; an innovative evolution in healthcare creating a one-stop-shop for all your health needs.

The Need.

The Montfort Foundation was looking to tell, in a more compelling way, their story and the impact they were having in the community. 

Simultaneously, they were also looking to develop and execute a campaign strategy designed to increase awareness levels and donations for their new location and accompanying capital campaign for the Orléans Health Hub.

The Foundation's Identity.

Since the Foundation’s visual identity and narrative was hitherto directly tied to the hospital, we conducted an in-depth discovery phase, and developed a distinct design system that showcased how their work is directly impacting the efforts of the hospital to improve the health of the community.

Visual Identity

With a deep dive (and seemingly too many  post-its) into the vision and purpose of the Foundation,  “BonHomme” came to life; a symbol of care and support representing the role of the donor in the patient experience.

Website

Previously the Foundations only online presence was on the Montfort Hospital’s website. It could be hard to find, navigate and  difficult to truly understand the role of the Foundation. As part of this new identity we created a donor-friendly website which clearly communicates the impact of how donor contributions are being used to improve patient care and staff satisfaction. 

The Campaign

We subsequently developed a donor-acquisition strategy which included campaign creative, paid digital campaigns, social media campaigns as well as video, display and television ads. 

Video Campaign - TV & Digital

After helping build the Case for Support for the Orleans Health Hub Capital Campaign, we developed a creative campaign to highlight the various services and benefits of this new local, innovative health hub. At the heart of the concept was a butterfly which spoke both to transformation of health services delivery as well as a the campaign itself taking flight. 

We are more than just a thrift store.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has been operating in Canada for over 175 years and is composed of 800 conferences (chapters) across Canada. They help more than 350,000 people each year providing home visits to the isolated and material support in the form of non-perishable food, clothes, household items and furniture to individuals and families. The Society also provides assistance to refugees, immigrants, and northern communities. That’s what I am talking about. We love what they do and could not wait to get started. 

The Need.

The Society was looking to broaden the awareness of the work they do, and their donor base beyond their aging membership in order to continue their much needed work for the next 175 years.

the solution.

Website

We created a new, modernized, donor friendly website that tells the story of the Society in a more compelling way integrating key points from their Case for Support.

Digital Campaign

We then deployed a series of digital campaigns and creative for various events (World Day of the Poor, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, etc.) throughout the year that ran on Facebook targeting Catholics across Canada to increase their donor base and website donations.

Print Campaign

We created a series of print assets to support the Society including an ad for the 2021 Ottawa Business Journal Giving Guide, New Donor Welcome Package and Monthly Donor Program.