We offer a series of monthly webinars to provide participants with the latest findings from our research and the thinking developed in our incubators.

Click here to book for any webinar in the upcoming series.  You can also sign up to be notified of future webinars


FREE Webinar: Donor Love in a Time of Coronavirus

Dear fundraiser: Have you been wondering what to say to your donors, don’t miss this important — yet entirely free — online event, delivered via Zoom.

During this new presentation, you’ll learn how to help isolated donors feel connected, comforted and cared for.

Your host is psychologist and author, Dr. Jen Shang. She’s a pioneering researcher who investigates the powerful role philanthropy plays in human health and well-being. (And she’s also the mom of two house-bound youngsters, so she might have something to say on that score, too!)

Join Jen for a free cuppa insight … into how to make your donors feel somewhat better in these lousy times.

Be there this coming Friday, April 3, 2020

A half-hour presentation followed by your Q&A

Sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy, fundraising’s leading research lab.

Repeated at three different times, for the convenience of participants anywhere on the planet:

  1. 06:00 BST (for participants in Australia, Asia and Africa)
  2. 12:00 BST (for European participants and eastern North Americans)
  3. 18:00 BST (for western North Americans, Hawaii and Alaska)


Date: Friday 3 April 2020

Times and booking links:

  1. Australia, Asia and Africa – 06:00BST – Book Here
  2. Europe and eastern North Americans – 12:00BST – Book Here
  3. Western North Americans, Hawaii and Alaska – 18:00BST – Book Here

Cost: FREE


Identity-Based Fundraising

Double your donations in the next 18 months … once you learn a few simple things about identity-based fundraising


It’s been called “Donor-Centricity 3.0.”

In 2013, Dr. Jen Shang, the world’s top psychologist specialising in donor behavior; and Dr. Adrian Sargeant, a marketing professor specialising in charities; set out together to see if they could increase giving by applying a few motivational principles to commonplace donor communications.

They ran a bunch of tests. The results were astounding!

Sending one extra thanks to donors 6 weeks in advance of the year-end appeal, for instance, significantly increased average gift size. Adding an “identity” question to the garden-variety reply device DOUBLED direct mail response. And that was just the beginning. Dr’s Shang and Sargeant found that typical donors have as many as 10 different identities you can connect with, including: today’s ID, species ID, social ID, emotional ID, experience ID, ideal ID and tomorrow’s ID.

In this 1-hour overview webinar, copywriter Tom Ahern — called “one of America’s most sought-after creators of fund-raising messages” by The New York Times — will translate the Shang and Sargeant science into everyday practice.

Introduce yourself to ID-based fundraising. Your bottom line will be glad you took the time.


Date: Wednesday 1 April 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Donor Acknowledgements: How To Say Thank You?

Thank-you communications are the communications that donors pay the most attention to. They want to know that their gift has made a difference and that they have done something worthwhile. But what is the best way to tell them that their gifts have made a difference? What do donors want to feel after they make a gift? What is the minimum length of communication required to make donors feel better about their first gift? How often should we send out thank-you’s to make sure the good feelings are continuously sustained. What should we say in the thank-you? This webinar will provide you with answers to these questions, with practical examples so you can easily apply the learning. It summarizes five exciting new experimental studies that we have conducted.

Date: Thursday 7th May 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Building Donor Loyalty: Lessons from Research

In the US, organization’s routinely lose 70% of their newly acquired donors during the first year of their ‘relationship’. This session reviews 25 years of research into donor loyalty and offers suggestions for what we might do about that terrible pattern of performance. It will explore donor lifetime value, what drives lifetime value and how best to build longevity in donor relationships. We’ll look at learning from the customer retention context and work conducted specifically in our sector. We’ll review the impact of factors such as donor satisfaction, donor commitment and trust in the sector/organization. We’ll also look at the very practical steps that organizations are taking to build loyalty, and you’ll leave with several new ideas to apply to your own professional practice.

Date: Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Introduction to Philanthropic Psychology

Philanthropic Psychology is the psychological science of how to grow love for humanity. When it is applied to help fundraisers to grow giving, it begins by spelling out how fundraisers can conceptualize each fundraising communication as an opportunity to fulfil donors’ psychological needs. Our research shows that when the fulfilment of donors’ psychological needs is made salient at the time of decision making, increases in donation will follow. But how best to meet these psychological needs differs depending on which identity people are expressing when they give to your organization. This webinar will explain how a host of identities are expressed through giving and how fundraisers can best identify, nurture, and develop them.

Date: Thursday 2nd July 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Building Legacies and Bequests

This session will explore all there is to know about legacy/bequest giving from research and successful professional practice.

We’ll explore who gives, why they give and the factors that drive decision making. The session will major on the legacy case for support and how to put together a solidly emotional proposition.

We’ll also look at the use of language in bequest campaigns and how to write compelling copy drawing on learning from the science of temporal decision making and construal theory.

We’ll also look at the good, the bad and the ugly of professional practice, teasing out how to develop communications that really work.

We’ll also show you how to create campaigns that add meaningfully to supporter wellbeing and how that can dramatically build take-up and retention post-pledge.

Miss out at your peril!

Date: Wednesday 29th July 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Relationship Fundraising

Fundraising is not always about building a relationship with donors because sometimes, donors just want to give you money and never hear from you again. But for when donors do desire a relationship, this webinar provides you with the tools you need to build a genuinely warm and fulfilling one. It explains the most important relational factors with the power to drive giving and shows how these can be adopted into practical fundraising. The session will draw on the latest psychological science and our own experimental work with clients in the UK, USA and Australia. You’ll leave with a treasure chest of ideas for making donors feel great, and plenty of examples you can use and adapt for your own professional practice. If you want to turbo-charge supporter relationships, this webinar is definitely for you.

Date: Thursday 6th August 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Christian Faith and Fundraising

Giving can be seen as an expression of faith and many faith-based nonprofits have a long history of fundraising on that basis. You’re Christian, so give to an organization that shares those values. But giving can also be a route to faith and comparatively fewer organizations really take the time to explore this dimension and look at how, through their fundraising they can support their donors in the journey in faith. This webinar is unique as it explores the psychology of giving in faith-based organizations, and explores how giving can contribute to the wellbeing of supporters in this context. We draw on survey-based evidence and experiments undertaken with our faith-based clients. We’ll show how you can grow giving, but do so in a way that nurtures and cares for your supporters.

Date: Thursday 3rd September 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Demystifying Donor Research

Donor research is something that every non-profit should consider. To develop the best acquisitions and design the best donor journeys you need to know what your donors like or dislike about you, what motivates their support, and how supporting you makes your donors feel. Armed with this knowledge, you can make sure that you permeate your fundraising touch points with language and content that sustainably encourages giving and makes your donors feel great. This webinar will provide an introduction to completing and commissioning high quality and useful donor research that you can use to improve donor acquisition and retention. We’ll show you how different types of research can answer different kinds of questions, when to use different methods, explain how you can create a reliable and valid survey and use the knowledge in your fundraising, and help you spot good and bad research.

Date: Thursday 8th October 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT

Cost: £99

Book Now


Short Online Courses


Learned all you can learn from sector conferences and events? Looking to make a deeper connection with your donors and supporters? Wanting to apply the latest insights from psychology to inform your communications and build a world class donor experience?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions the new Certificate in Philanthropic Psychology is definitely for you.

We’ll teach you a new perspective on the role of fundraising, growing the love of others to grow giving. You’ll explore the concepts of identity and wellbeing and look at how to tangibly shift the nature of the donor experience simply by changing words in communication.

As we’ll demonstrate, in fundraising copy, words are not just words. They are the keys to unlocking a love of others and as a consequence, growing giving.

This is NOT a course in behavioural economics. Behavioural economics cares about how to get donors to take actions. Philanthropic psychology, by contrast, focuses on how those actions make people feel. Our research has shown that when people feel their giving is meaningful and overtime transformative to their sense of who they are, they give more and they give for longer.

So, the growth in giving delivered by philanthropic psychology is sustainable and powerful improvements in loyalty/retention will result. We believe when a donor journey can genuinely be designed using these principles, it can develop people into stronger supporters and increase the likelihood of a legacy/bequest.

Philanthropic Psychology for Fundraisers is an 8-week course consisting of 40 hours of university style learning, hosted online by Professor Jen Shang who pioneered the field of philanthropic psychology during her time at Indiana University and Prof. Adrian Sargeant who held the first Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

You’ll listen to virtual lectures from the course team, undertake assigned readings, participate in group discussions and be encouraged reflect on your own professional practice. There are also self-test quizzes to test your learning and a practical 1500 word assignment at the end of the course for those who wish to gain the certificate.

The course is structured as follows:

Week 1: What is Philanthropic Psychology and what value can the study of it offer fundraisers?

Week 2: How can we define love in giving?

Week 3: Who are your donors? How does people’s sense of who they are drive giving?

Week 4: How does giving contribute to donors’ personal sense of wellbeing and how can we boost this?

Week 5: What is the best way to talk to your donors in order to grow their capacity to love others?

Week 6: How can you translate this knowledge into the design of a donor journey for your organisation, including thank-you communications, newsletters, upgrades and appeals?

Week 7: How can you double, triple and quadruple giving as a consequence?

Week 8: How does this way of thinking make a difference in how you think about your role as a fundraiser.

The first class sold out within days. We are also sold out for our class commencing 6th April.

The course will be available up to four times a year.