“MINDSPACE” below are some suggestions from my psychology of funding training courses on how you can use psychology to strengthen funding applications and requests to donors
|Messenger – we are heavily influenced by who communicates a message to us; therefore, we want to be liked and trusted by the reader||o Can you associate with any ‘named’ people who the giver will know/ see as peers or respect?
o Have you been able to make any key points rhyme
o When introducing the charity have you explained at an individual level why you are involved?
o Are you clear about the organisation/ charities purpose and aims?
o Have you included awards/ quality marks to demonstrate trustworthiness?
o Include specific statistics to back up any claims
|Incentives – we respond to how questions are posed; what will be gained and what will be lost||o We are loss averse; therefore, have you framed your benefits in a positive way – e.g. numbers saved rather than numbers lost if no action?
o Can you make anything FREE?
o What added value do you bring? – we value what we have more than others will
o Does your application create a sense of urgency?
|Norms – we seek guidance from the behaviour of others and want to fit in||o Tell the reader that ‘People like you’ have also funded us
o Show match funding to demonstrate other also support what you are doing
o Be very careful with averages! Those giving more than the average may then give less
o How are you connecting with the donor/funder – what do you have in common; tell them
|Defaults – we like things to be easy – both making decisions and taking action||o How have you made it easy for the person to take action – prefilled forms, easy to find webpage, who to ask about more information
o Have you made it easy for information to be understood?
o Have you given a reason for the reader to believe you? (Power of ‘because’)
o Remember our brain will fill in information based upon the little information it is provided with what it expects to see
|Salience – we like things that are novel and relevant to us||o Have you spoken to the reader – ‘you’ and made it personal to them
o Include a photo – beneficiaries or of the writer (make eye contact in photos)
o What have you done to put reader in a good mood? – be upbeat in your letter – happy people respond more positively
o We respond best to easy to remember and say words – it your project title easy to remember
|Priming – we are heavily influenced by sub conscious cues, these can be irrelevant to the decision being made||o Aim high; but also reasonable
o Include high amounts at the start of sponsorship forms
o Try increasing the minimum donation rate box to see if it increases donations (but also include ‘other amount’)
o Let people know what you expect to raise – use words that encourage giving larger amounts such as generous
o We can be put off by asking for money (or thinking about money) too early; get people on board with the project first
|Affect – Emotions shape our actions||o Does the application engage with people’s emotions? For instance, ask the reader to imagine how the ‘victim’ would feel
o Beware of making the reader feel guilty!
o Do you use descriptive language to really help reader visualise your work?
|Commitments – we like to be consistent with public commitments||o Include an opening statement that the reader will agree with
o Don’t forget to remind the person / funder if they have supported you in the past
o If you want to get people to turn up at an event; make them give a commitment, even if it to let you know they can’t make it. Or say ‘ so we can count on your support on the day’ and wait for them to answer.
|Ego – We like to feel good about ourselves||o How will supporting your cause make the donor feel good?
o Have you identified the victim and used named people in case studies?
o Is your solution going to make a real impact? Is the scale of the request proportional to the problem?