Donors give to organizations because they want to help — people, animals, kids, their community, [insert your beneficiary here]. But they also give because they want to feel good.

Most of us are really good at focusing on the former in our messaging. But what about the latter?

I recently dug into research from one of my clients that showed their donors are just as interested in belonging to a community of people who care about their issue as they are about the issue itself.

That was an a-ha moment for me. I had hammered away at the issue without talking about the community of people — and the benefits of belonging to that community — that were equally as important to the donors. I wasn’t making them feel good.

Behavioral economists have posited that charitable giving is equally about reinforcing the donor’s own well-being as it is about helping others. I think both are important. But I would argue that we’re better at asking our donors to help than we are at helping our donors feel good. And that should definitely change.