What love language do YOU speak?

Do you ever wonder how to connect better with your donors?

Do you wish you knew what would be really meaningful to your donors, that would make them engage and feel more connected to your nonprofit?

Why not try the 5 love languages?

Have you ever heard about the 5 love languages? It’s a book by Gary Chapman.

This book’s main premise is that there are 5 languages of love that each of us speak. And our relationship struggles occur when our love language mis-matches that of our partner.

The 5 love languages are:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

So what does this mean?

It means that certain things mean more to us than others. Let’s say you love hearing how much people appreciate you, but you could take or leave gifts. Or maybe you love it when people help you with housework, but don’t really like being touched.

Have you ever had this mis-match with someone? When we like quality time, perhaps our partner wants gifts. Maybe we really need to hear the words “I love you” but our partner prefers physical touch over words.

Are you identifying with these love languages?

For me, words mean so much. Words, physical touch, quality time are all some of my favorite love languages. How about you?

What about your donors? Do they fall within the 5 love languages?


How can you apply the 5 love languages to your donors?

Words of Affirmation:

This is often what we mean when we say donor centered communications. You need to keep telling your donors how much they have made it all possible, how much they mean to you. Telling them, “Your donation has helped us do these incredible things. Thank you!” And a donor who likes words of affirmation may be the one giving you a testimonial on GreatNonprofits.

Quality time:

Some of us just LOVE quality time. How do you spend quality time with a donor? Planned giving professionals know this one! Sometimes donors just like going out to coffee and feeling like someone is really listening to them. Even a phonecall on their birthday, or on the anniversary of their first gift, or their wedding anniversary, means something to these donors. Some donors never want to hear from us. But for many donors, calling them just to say hi can mean so much. And thank-a-thons count too! Just calling donors to say thank you can make them feel so good! How does a donor communicate that they like quality time to you? Maybe they stop by your office just to say hi. Maybe they volunteer on a committee or in direct service.

Receiving gifts:

You know some donors hate it when you give them little presents. They say, “Why did you waste your nonprofit’s money on this stupid mug/pen/address label/etc?” And other donors really like little presents. A gift card for a nominal amount, a t-shirt, a bag of coffee or some hershey’s kisses can make a donor feel good. I know a nonprofit that sent a basket to their foundation funder with a t-shirt and a bag of coffee and the program staff just loved it. They really responded positively to these gifts. How can you tell if a donor likes gifts? That’s tricky. You might just want to ask them if they would mind a gift in a brief survey before sending out little gifts. What is an appropriate gift? You might like to give a retiring board member a book relating to your cause area.

Acts of service:

This one it’s easier to tell when a donor values acts of service. How? Well, a donor might be a volunteer first and give acts of service to your nonprofit to show you how much they care. And how could you show a donor acts of service? At a fundraising event, you could help them find their table. You could help the donor connect with the right person at your open house. You could send them an article you think they might enjoy.

Physical touch:

This one is trickier. Some donors do just love to come to your events and meet your participants, meet leadership volunteers, and meet you. Some people just love giving hugs, handshakes, and pats on the back. And you can tell these people when you meet them. So invite these people to your open house, your annual meeting, your big gala, and even to tabling events. If they love to reach out and touch your cause, help them feel this tangible connection this way.

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