Words that Motivate Women to Give

Words that Motivate Women to Give

May 17, 2012 by jga_admin

by Angela E. White

Caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, and kind. These can be powerful words to motivate women to make gifts to your organizations.

As we know from the book The She Spot, Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen, the key to marketing to women is to get them to care --- empathy is the key emotion for women.

Locally, in Bloomington, Indiana, Jen Shang, an Indiana University assistant professor, worked with public radio station WFIUto test the use of these words in their conversations with donors during the station's annual pledge drive.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy details how as part of the experiment, volunteers who answered calls from potential supporters were instructed to use one of five words when thanking donors for calling: caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, and kind.


The results of this experiment back up Witter and Chen’s premise that getting women to care makes a difference in response rates.


Women donors who heard one of those five words during their conversation with a volunteer gave an average of $100. Women who heard a normal thank-you without these words gave an average of $83. These five words have no effect on giving by men.


So, how can you create an emotional bond between your issue and women who are driving philanthropic decision-making? Witter and Chen recommend the following when marketing to women:


  1. Put a face on your organization – women thrive on personal connections.
  2. Keep it simple and real – focus on clear, simplistic language that describes what you do; strip out jargon and get to the core of your message.
  3. Tell real-life stories – tell compelling stories to help immerse women in your issues. Remember the golden rule of public speaking: In a two hour speech, people will remember a two minute story.
  4. Appeal to group affiliations – women have a strong affinity for feeling a part of a community. Women are more inclined to think about how her decisions will impact the group as a whole.
  5. See life transitions as opportunities to engage women with new programs and services to meet their changing needs – marriage/divorce/death of a spouse/ motherhood/empty nesting/ retirement/ sandwich generation
  6. Connect with women in cyberspace – women see the internet as a plat form to communicate with others, so remember this desire to engage socially when you design and manage your online activities.


Caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, and kind. Five simple words that can motivate and engage women. How do you use these words? How do you target your message to different target audiences?