Using Neuro-Fundraising To Understand Donors

This simple quiz will help you discover the power your primal or fast brain plays in your daily life, and why neuro-fundraising is so important for a nonprofit. If a piece of candy and cookie cost $1.10, how much is the candy if the cookie costs $1 more?

If you haven’t taken this quiz before and you’re like most people, you probably said, “10 cents” and unfortunately, like most people, you’d be wrong. Your primal brain tricked you into the simple, yet wrong answer.

Renowned neuroscientist António R. Damásio informs that, “We are not thinking machines that feel, but rather feeling machines that think,” and at this year’s Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, speakers Geoff Peters, chairman of the Moore DM Group and Tracy Trost, president of TCM Creative, shared the reality of this statement in their Neuro-Fundraising Masterclass – How to Make Game-Changing Improvements to Your Creative Offers.

“For decades, top corporations have been implementing learnings from neuroscience and neuromarketing into their advertising campaigns,” said Peters. “The playing field is being leveled as nonprofits are entering the space.”

Neuro-fundraising is the use of biometric sensors to discover what potential donors truly feel, think, and associate with fundraising content. Attendees learned about numerous studies that have been highlighting ways in which nonprofits could begin implementing neuro-fundraising into their own fundraising campaigns. Key neuro concepts covered in the class included:

  • Anchoring: The process of using a large number or concept to “anchor” potential donors’ minds to a higher amount. (See more below.)
  • Reciprocity: We have been conditioned to return a favor done for us or a gift given us. While some nonprofits have this influence factor baked into their core message (think VSOs), some will have to get more creative.
  • Mirroring: People will copy or follow the actions of those similar to them. When we see someone smile, we smile; when someone is hurt, we can feel their pain. What images are you using to capitalize on this influential reality to set your audiences’ emotional state?
  • Priming: The concept of using an image, word, number, or idea to prepare your audience for something you want them to be receptive to later on. In films, it’s called foreshadowing, when filmmakers give us a hint or peek into what is coming the story. When your audience is primed for what is to come, they will be more receptive to it.

An example of anchoring comes from a study where respondents were asked to provide the last two numbers of their Social Security numbers. After supplying this information, they were then asked to guess the value of a keyboard they were shown. Those respondents who had Social Security numbers with higher digits, and were thereby anchored to this higher number, guessed a higher value on the keyboard than those who had lower digits.

And about that piece of candy, it costs just a nickel. Here’s how it works and most brains react. So the cookie and the candy cost $1.10 but the cookie costs $1 more than the candy. Your primal brain (or “Fast System 1 Thinking,” according to Daniel Kahneman) thinks that the candy must be 10 cents.

If it was 10 cents then: $0.10 Candy, $1.10 Cookie ($1 more than the candy) equals $1.20 total. But it needs to total $1.10 so $0.05 Candy, $1.05 Cookie, $1.10 total.

For more in neuro-fundraising, go to http://neurofundraisinglab.com/