August 20, 2019

Why do people give?

Do you ever wonder why some people give to one cause over another? Being a professional fundraiser, I think about this almost every day of my life.

Why would one person and/or organization choose one charity, and someone else (and/or organization) support something completely different?

I believe that whenever anyone donates to specific cause, they’re buying a story – the fundraising term for the written form of the story would probably best be defined as a “case for support”. By agreeing that this case for support has great merit, they are willing to make a call to action and write a cheque and/or buy a chocolate bar, etc. to support the cause.

A definition I found on the internet says: “A Case for Support is quite simply the most important document your nonprofit organization will ever write. It is both the cornerstone of any fundraising campaign and the portfolio of your organization’s amazing achievements”.

The case for support must have value – that by investing in this cause you are going to help heal people, cure a disease, help a distressed situation, etc. In some instances, a case for support may be easier to tell than in others. For example, everyone meets someone who is affected by cancer, so all you have to do is see the statistics of how many people die of cancer and certainly many people, including myself, come to a call to action and get a pen to sign a cheque to support this cause.

I think something similar happened when the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse required money and volunteers to help support the June floods in Calgary in 2013, now over 6 years ago. By the media, like the Calgary Herald, helping nonprofit organizations like these help convey the help that’s required (i.e. the case for support), it probably wasn’t very difficult to get people off their couches to lend a hand either manually or financially. For example, I believe that McMahon stadium had such an influx of volunteers wanting to do work that some people were turned away.

Although, as mentioned, some causes are certainly easier to relay the case of support, it can also be true that if people aren’t donating to your cause, it may be that your case for support is not being told in the best way it could be, or that the wrong case is being told to the wrong people, in the wrong way.

I hope you enjoy my postings and find this information useful. Please follow the link at: as I welcome your comments on my Blog.

Best regards,


Mitchell Ravvin, BComm, PFPC, CFRE
Professional Fundraiser
Rave Results Inc.
7436 21A Street SE
Calgary, AB T2C 0V9

Rave Results Inc. is a professional fundraising service specializing in assisting mid-size nonprofit organizations. Areas of expertise include: Donor Development, Major Gift Fundraising, Sponsorship, Planned Giving, and both Annual and Capital Campaigns.

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