In every successful nonprofit organization, there is a small percentage of donors that will support it no matter what. Usually, these donors (who are called many things, but mostly “major”) can account for approximately 75 percent to 85 percent of the charity’s total revenue.
The remaining vast number of donors make up for the rest of the organization’s income. It’s amazing that so many nonprofits don’t govern themselves better on how frequently they communicate with these individuals, but that’s a different discussion. Today, we’re talking about the deepest and sometimes darkest secrets fundraisers have in their arsenal for pinpointing major-donor potential from outside of their established donor ranks. Perhaps you’ll see some of these cloak-and-dagger ideas as desperate, but keep in mind that desperate times call for even the best fundraiser to find an edge.
Every nonprofit would love more major donors. Typically a major donor started out as a $50 or $75 donor and somehow you touched her heart and grew her giving into a major relationship — good for you.
But wouldn’t it be nice to circumvent a large part of that process/time to acquire new major donors? Many smart fundraisers are doing just that, and I have their secrets. The following is a Baker’s dozen of proven ideas on how to find new major donors. Let me encourage you to attempt some of these and watch your revenue soar.
Many nonprofits have naming opportunities for their donors; they actually list their top donors on a wall or brick floors or a plaque of some kind in public view. Now this idea is as close to nonprofit espionage as you can get, but it works. Some fundraisers I’ve known aren’t above going to their local hospitals, museums, universities, theaters, science centers, parks, opera houses, animal shelters, etc. and secretly photographing these donor names. Then, they go and find these donors’ addresses online.