10 Steps to Finding New Donors for Your Nonprofit Organization
Each year, approximately 10 percent of your nonprofit donor base will attrite naturally through death, moving or just not giving any longer. Then, you add lapsed donors on top of that natural attrition, and you are looking at an eroding donor list. Sound familiar?
Below, I answer the ever-important question of: How can you find new donors for your nonprofit?
Here are some simple steps that you can take to combat this natural attrition and to begin adding new names to your donor list. These are the actual suggestions that I use with my very own clients.
1. Conduct a fun exercise with your board members, such as a "treasure map" activity, to help them think of all those who they come into contact with in their networks (i.e. people who they attend church with, people who volunteer on other boards of directors, friends)
2. Host a gathering or tour and have board and staff members bring those prospective donors to this event.This event should have a program that shares information about the organization and its mission, services, ways to get involved and most importantly, a testimonial. Don't forget to conduct follow-up with all those who attend these events to find out what they thought about the event and to determine further interest for engagement.
3. Use social media as a way to find new donors. Consider having a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Don't overwhelm yourself with having to manage and pay attention to too many networks at a time. Instead, be strategic, profile your ideal donor and then determine what networks that you are most likely to find them.
Keep up to date on your competitor's website and how they are managing their social media presence. Then promote, promote, promote and have your board and staff act as "social media ambassadors," sharing the page with friends, family and other interested individuals.
Keep content fresh, consider automating content with an automating app and don't forget to comment and interact with others. Keep content 80 percent of interest and 20 percent promotional.
4. Take a look at a similar organization's annual reports, websites and newsletters, and compile a list of who is giving to them. Compile a prospective list of donors. Ask board and staff members if they happen to know anyone on these lists. If so, begin to cultivate them.
5. Get the local voter or street records list, sometimes referred to as "grand" lists, and review this list with board and staff members based on property assessment, location or other criteria that meet your ideal donor profile. From there, pull together a prospective donor list and cultivate!
6. Ask for referrals from your current donors. These donors already are giving to you and love you. So, why not just ask them who else may they know who might be interested in becoming more involved in the organization.
7. Be sure, when you are doing outreach at events or speaking engagements, to bring along a guest book, so that interested attendees can sign up to receive more information. You have a captive, interested audience, so you want to be sure to get their names and contact information. Research them if possible, segment out those with greater interest and capacity for cultivation and add all the other names to your mailing list.
8. Identify new attendees to your organization's fundraising events and create strategies that will take their transactional attendance to possible transformational engagement in your organization. One possible first step is to call those new attendees and find out what they thought about the event—and if they see themselves getting more involved or interested in learning more.
9. Capture interested website visitors with a website "pop-up" offering free information and resources. Send these folks a welcome, and begin to send them relevant informational emails in cultivation. Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly as more and more folks are using their mobile devices to access content.
10. You can always rent and purchase mailing lists from a list broker.
So, there you have 10 steps that you can begin immediately taking to start to stem the tide of donor attrition by adding new names to your donor lists. These are the same steps that I use to help my clients build their donor lists. And, they work!
Robin Cabral is “Hire a CFRE!” the one and only outsourced development professional with close to 25 years experience providing value-added consulting services with razor-sharp monthly result objectives and benchmarked deliverables.
She works with mid-sized nonprofits that want to position themselves to build capacity and generate more fundraising prospects, better donor relationships, and bigger fundraising dollars. She specializes in providing outsourced, interim development services and assisting smaller organizations in their first campaigns (annual, capital, and endowment).
Follow her on LinkedIn, Like her on Facebook, and on Twitter: @HIREACFRE!