Insight of the Week

Make Donors Feel Self-Aware and Visible

Insight of the Week: Make donors feel self-aware and visible. Humans perform “good” behaviors when other people are watching.

Nick Kolenda
Last updated June 30, 2023
Online donation form with a beneficiary staring at the user


I just launched a new guide on donation psychology.

It has dozens of interesting tactics that illustrate how charities influence donor behavior.

For example, humans perform “good” behaviors when other people are watching. In a classic study, people donated more money when they were standing near an image of eyes (vs. flowers; Bateson, Nettle, & Roberts, 2006).

Want more donations? Make them visible.

Look Into the Video Camera

Woman in donation video speaking directly to the viewer

Speak directly to viewers in donation videos.

Be Liberal With “You” Pronouns

Donation copy with multiple "you" pronouns

UNICEF frames their copy around potential donors. Your copy should follow a similar strategy. For example, the previous sentence said “your copy” – which paints a mental image in which you are the protagonist. All eyes are on you.

Display Handwritten Fonts

Box that says "Donations" written by hand

If humans can’t be present to witness a donation, leave remnants of a human. People insert more money into donation boxes with handwritten fonts (Chu, Tok, Zhou, & Chen, 2023).

Other New Stuff