Initiating and running an organization can be complicated in itself, but when your organization depends on others for their support and donations like nonprofits do, it can get a little trickier to maintain.
Nonprofits are tasked with selling their cause and organization to donors in order to get them to believe in the mission enough to donate.
Unfortunately, finding new donors can be one of the biggest challenges a nonprofit faces. Whether you are a grassroots nonprofit, large organization, or a veterans’ organization, you need to be able to bring in new donors on a consistent basis.
It takes commitment, time, and resources to be able to build your donor base. Donors are the lifeline of any nonprofit and knowing where and how to find them can be tricky.
Here are 7 tips on how to attract more donors to your nonprofit.
1. Look To Your Current Donors For Referrals
You’ve likely spent a significant amount of time developing and cultivating relationships with your current donors. But, you likely aren’t using those relationships to their full potential.
You’ve made “the ask” for money, they’ve donated, and then you’ve moved on to finding other donors. Asking a current donor for a referral could be an easy way to increase your donor list. They probably have friends or family that share the same interests as they do, possibly even the same interest of your nonprofit, making these prospective donors easier to recruit.
It is important to first fully cultivate the relationship you have with that donor and to receive their donations prior to asking for referrals. Once you receive that referral, it would be useful to have your current donor introduce you. Using this referral network, your donor list could continually grow.
2. Find Your Ideal Donor Profile
Narrowing down the list of people that are more likely to donate could return a higher success rate for your searching. While it is tempting to want to attract people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, it is not ideal to target “everyone.” By minimizing your target group, you can create a sales pitch for those individuals who would likely maximize your returns.
Take a look at your current donors and prepare a list of common demographics and possible ideologies that they seem to share. Just “having money” shouldn’t be a reason to be on this list.
Take that list and use it as a base for who you should be targeting. Look for common interests that these people share and that could help you with your search on other platforms that are discussed below. Utilizing this method will likely yield you long term donors, instead of just one-time donors.
3. Utilize The Power Of The Internet
Nowadays, everyone is constantly glued to their phones, browsing the internet. Smartphones and tablets have quickly taken over as the main way that individuals utilize the internet.
There is no denying the convenience that smartphones have brought into our lives. We do everything on our portable devices including pay our bills, talk with friends, make dinner reservations, and purchase things. Now, people are donating on their mobile devices as well.
By bringing your nonprofit online and to a mobile-accessible site, you can make it easy for your potential donors to find you. If an individual is passionate about a cause and is looking for a nonprofit to donate to or get involved with, they most likely will turn to the internet to search for an organization that suits their needs and ideologies. If your site is at their fingertips, with an easy way to donate online, you could easily attract donors that you weren’t pursuing in the first place.
With a well-thought-out online presence, a potential donor can learn all about your organization and make a donation in a few simple clicks. On your site, make sure that you use imagery that stands out, make a simple and easy to understand site, and grab people’s attention with a well thought out message about your organization and its mission.
Additionally, you should add donor levels to suggest particular amounts to donate, instead of having the donor input a specific amount themselves. This has been repeatedly shown to increase the amount of the donation. Furthermore, you should give donors the option to donate monthly with a recurring payment at checkout. Moonclerk has a new Payer Portal system which could assist you with this.
4. Invest In Email Marketing
Email marketing can require an investment of money and time, but it would likely show a substantial return on investment.
When marketing by email, you must be creative in order to grab the reader’s attention. Start with a creative subject line to entice them to open your email.
Your copy should be compelling, short and to the point. Make sure to include images or videos to capture their interest.
Additionally, you should personalize the email with the donor’s name in the subject line. A more detailed breakdown on the advantages of email marketing can be found here.
5. Use social media
In addition to creating a powerful website and utilizing email marketing, an effective method for reaching prospective donors online is by utilizing social media.
Many people spend a significant portion of their day on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s easy to target certain groups on social media as most people openly show their interests on multiple varying sites. By creating Google Adwords, Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads, you can reach a much wider audience with your pitch. By doing this, you can target a group of your choosing, such as people that already like a similar organization. A more detailed step-by-step article on how to make these ads can be found here.
Additionally, you can further employ social media by utilizing the different tools that each social media outlet already has. For example, create a LinkedIn event and host a happy hour. Create a contest asking viewers to create creative content for your organization, such as a photo or video that encapsulates your nonprofit’s message.
6. Host An Event
Hosting an event could help bring in a number of prospective donors. It could be as small as a cocktail happy hour at a local bar or as large as a gala being you host in a ballroom.
You should invite current donors as well as prospective donors that you’ve acquired from different methods. While at the event, you could speak with each prospective donor to discuss your organization’s mission. But, more importantly, prospective donors have the ability to speak to your current donors regarding the reason that they support your organization.
Hopefully by the end of the night, you will be able to cultivate relationships and turn some potential donors into recurring ones. This could also be a great way to show appreciation for your current donors support.
7. The Ask
So you’ve located some new prospective donors and have set up a meeting with them. Now what? While it is important to locate valuable prospective donors, it is just as important to make sure you ask the donor for money.
Plan for an in-person meeting, if possible, as it is always more influential than an email or a phone call. Do your research to get to know the person that you are asking for money. Knowing their interests and past donations can help with this process immensely.
Additionally, it is important to educate them about your organization and inform them specifically what their money will be used to achieve in your organization. They need to know what you need help with and how they could help further your mission.
One negotiation tactic is proposing monthly payments if a large lump sum amount seems too much for them to donate. Additionally, make the conversation more of a dialogue and less of a sales pitch. Listen to their opinions and suggestions for your organization openly and make them feel included in other ways than just by donating money.
While it usually takes time and resources to cultivate and develop new donors, it is an essential investment to allowing your nonprofit to grow and run smoothly. By utilizing these tips in your process, you could continually build and cultivate relationships with prospective donors and turn them into long-lasting donations for your organization.