Stirring emotions makes for more effective fundraising, research proves

In several previous posts, we have mentioned how making your fundraising appeal more emotional can help get more donors. Now, science also proves this. Researchers found that emotional stimulation was an important factor in bringing out people’s altruistic side.

A team at Claremont Graduate School, US conducted the research. Well known oxytocin expert and neuroeconomist Paul J Zak headed the team. Their experiment consisted of showing videos from St Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.

One of the video has a father discuss his son’s terminal brain cancer. The other had the father and son visiting the zoo, talking about the son’s condition. Half of the respondents were shown the first video, while others watched the second. The one with the son set in the zoo garnered a much more emotional response. These participants also had a 47% rise in the oxytocin levels in their blood.

After watching the video, the participants had to make a decision regarding charitable donations. It was found that participants who watched the more emotional video were more likely to be generous. In fact, after donating the money, these participants were also noticeably more happy than the others.

“Emotional simulation is the foundation for empathy. This feeling is particularly powerful for social creatures like humans, because it allows us to rapidly forecast if people around us are angry or kind, dangerous or safe, friend or foe,” says Professor Zak.

He also said that oxytocin has a tendency to make people more sensitive to social cues. “In many situations, social cues motivate us to engage to help others, particularly if the other person seems to need our help,” he said.

So you see, it really does you good to engage a potential donor emotionally. If you already have such a cause and would like to raise funds for it, check out Crowdera. It is a free fundraising platform which helps you accept donations from all over the world. In different currencies, too.