In 2018, Nexus Direct commissioned research from the reputable Coyne Research in Ireland with the aim to understand the potential Irish donor pull, but also to provide some insight into whether the myths and preconceptions about the Irish audience and their relationship with giving are correct (or not!). You can read more about this on another blog post which summarises the main findings about the Irish consumer and their relationship with giving and charities.

We have done a few sessions introducing Irish fundraisers to this research, and based on some of the questions and feedback we got post-research, we thought we would respond and elaborate a bit on some of the most frequently asked questions, especially focusing on mechanisms, methods, and motivations of giving. Here are three takeaways:


  1. Cash is king.

Yes, but …

The section of the Irish population that is likely to give you a gift (Altruistic Annie and Lucrative Liam/Linda) stated that the method of giving they have most used in the last three months is Cash Donation — and this is also the method they are most likely to use again in the next three months.

However, it is important to note that Direct Debit is still a prominent form of giving for the older generations (Altruistic Annie), and online is growing amongst the younger generations (Lucrative Liam/Linda).

Remember: This is the METHOD they prefer to give to your cause. This says nothing about motivations or triggers — more on that later.

What does this mean for your programme?

Here comes the “but …”. You shouldn’t change anything that you are doing, really! Unless you only allow for one method of giving, you are good. Above all, allow your target audience to give to you in any way they want.

Fair enough that organisations want to give preference to certain mechanisms; however, it should be obvious to the donor that you welcome their gift, not only in any size, but also through any mechanism!

On your donation forms, do you mention all methods in which you accept donations? On your online form, do you have a regular giving option and a phone number? On your outdoor advertising, what is the call to action linked to? If a fundraiser rings and the prospect doesn’t want to give, do they offer any other option of giving?


  1. Donors give to … PEOPLE!

?And you are right now thinking … “No Sh*t Sherlock.” You have been told time and time again, “People give to people, not to organisations.” Ok, we got that, but did you know that WHOM they are giving to is really important as well?

According to the findings of this research, in the last 18 months donors were giving to their FRIENDS taking part in a charity event or challenge, and this trend is likely to continue and, in fact, even increase:

Ok … so what?

We understand that running events can be time consuming, and it’s hard to predict return on investment and so on. However, once again, having easy and obvious ways for your donors to engage with you is really important. And we aren’t suggesting that if you don’t have your own challenge and/or event you should start immediately, or that you need to stop anything that you are doing. However, are you doing all that you can to allow the public to give to you in the way that they prefer? There are very simple ways to engage with the public through your own donors’ networks. For example: Facebook Birthday.


  1. Donors give because they care

?Again, no massive news here. However, you might be surprised about some of the motivations, especially when broken down by segment.

We asked individuals to rank by importance their motivations to give. We found out that the primary motivation for donating is support for the cause in order to help someone in need. Nonetheless, making the world a better place and trying to personally make a difference emerge as salient motivations as well.

Looking a bit deeper, though, Lucrative Liam/Linda’s highest motivation is to try and make the world a better place, while Altruistic Annie wants to help someone in need and make a difference to a cause.

Going EVEN further: What would motivate individuals to give if they hadn’t given to a charity before?

This is where it gets even more interesting. Overall, the primary motivator to donate to a charity never before supported is that it is a worthy or personal cause. However, transparency regarding how the donation is used and making a difference rank quite high as well.

Instead of statistics, I’ll tell you what they said:

Those amongst the Altruistic Annie cohort said things like “Probably something I don’t already donate towards which are relevant to me. Dogs and Kids charities are what I currently donate to each month as I have a dog and a kid” ; “If the cause is good, if the charity is registered and is open about it’s expenditure. It would also help if the charity/cause is church approved…”? “If I was impressed by the work they do”

And in the case of Lucrative Liam and Linda we heard “Once I would know the money I was donating was going direct to the charity and not into someone’s pocket that doesn’t deserve it” but also “I need to have a feeling that I am making change to somebody or to a group of people and that a cause is worthwhile” and “If there has been a prior impact on my life which I feel can be assisted by my donation.”

I’m sure you are asking now, “What makes it a good or worthwhile cause?” This is a subjective matter, we agree, and it is definitely a piece we will consider looking into in the future.

Nonetheless, we still think there are important things to consider in your programme.

Ultimately, you want to cast the net as wide as possible when creating a campaign to make sure you get as many targeted donors as possible in the door. And what this research is reinforcing is that you need to be talking about your work with a compelling story of need, but make sure, simultaneously, it is obvious where the money is going to. These two pieces are top priority for the donors.

We aren’t suggesting you need to have a pie chart on every piece of communication (unless, of course, you want to), but you can tell a story of need while addressing donors’ concerns as well. For example, if you are using a single story, make sure it’s clear that the person or place featured in the story is one of many that they will be helping. If you are talking about your work overseas but the money goes towards work done nationally, make sure to let the donor know. If for some reason you can’t create a pie chart of the overall organisation’s expenditure or it’s too complex to translate it into donor friendly language, then why not have a pie chart that represents how much is spent on each area of your work?

We have successfully applied some of these insights into our clients’ programmes. Should you wish to hear more about it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.