How to Attract New Donors for Your Nonprofit: 10 Ideas to Boost Support and Revenue!
Every so often, nonprofits run into a similar problem.
The well of supporters runs a little low. And the anxiety of where the support is going to come from starts creeping up.
The great news is that it’s all going to be okay! But it’s always a wonderful idea to have a plan on how to attract new donors for your nonprofit.
Yet, the task of finding new donors for nonprofits is … easier said than done, right? It’s more nuanced than, “just getting out there!”
We’ve broken it down into 10 actionable ideas on how to get new donors for your organization:
10 Ideas on How to Attract New Donors for Your Nonprofit
1. Create an Ideal Donor Persona – Then Market Your Nonprofit to Them
Not everyone wants to support your cause. And that’s okay! Everyone has their own values, interests, and reasoning behind those two things.
But we don’t want to waste time, energy, or resources trying to persuade them to support your cause. Instead, we want to focus all of that effort and attention on the people who do support your cause.
So, creating an ideal donor persona is going to help you narrow down who you’re talking to in all of your marketing efforts.
You can use specific language in your nonprofit copywriting if your ideal donor persona agrees with that. Will it repel certain people who don’t support your cause? Possibly! But again, we don’t want to worry about those people.
We want to focus on the people who align with the nonprofit’s ideal donor persona. If your nonprofit doesn’t have one created yet, try checking out our guide on how to make one!
2. Research As Much As You Can!
This ties into our first idea. Because knowing who your ideal donor is means researching them!
One of the best ways to start doing this is by digging through your nonprofit’s donor management software. Is there someone who is already giving in a way that your organization needs or loves most?
If so, start there. Maybe reach out to them via email and ask if you can hop on a video call with them and ask them a few questions. When you do get them on a call, ask them questions like:
- Why do they support your nonprofit? What about your organization draws them to you?
- What is important to them in life? What do they value most?
- What is important to them about your cause?
- Do they support other nonprofit organizations? If so, which ones? What do they like most about those organizations?
When you have those answers, it’s a fabulous idea to ask them how they show up in the world. So ask them questions such as:
- What’s your favorite social media channel?
- What communication channels do they prefer the most – is it social media? Is it email? Is it direct mail?
- How often do they get online to check those channels (if they’re online)?
- What other types of content do they like to see? Is it through nonprofit video marketing? Blog posts? Newsletters?
And if you want to take it a step further (which is great for your nonprofit copywriting), ask them questions to get to know them better (outside of how they find content):
- What do they do for a living?
- What music or podcasts do they listen to? What movies or TV shows are they watching?
- What does their morning commute look like? How about their evening routine?
Finding out as much as you can, especially about how they’re consuming content and finding organizations, is going to help you attract new donors that are similar to them!
3. Find What Works for Your Nonprofit, Not Anyone Else’s
Many nonprofit organizations swear by one tactic, but not others. For example, some might say that direct mailers work incredibly well, and you should be using them, too!
Others will tell you they see little to no return on direct mailers, but their email marketing efforts are paying off.
There’s a reason for that. Every nonprofit is different. Every organization has a different ideal donor. And those donors prefer certain ways of communication over others.
The biggest thing you need to know about finding new donors for your organization is that you have to find what works for your nonprofit.
That might mean that some of the most “popular” methods of marketing? Don’t work for your organization!
And that’s okay. Find comfort in knowing that it’s okay to be different.
4. Turn In-House – Talk with Your Volunteers, Team Members, and Your Board
Some of your top supporters might already be working with your nonprofit! They just might not be supporting monetarily yet.
Any time you’re attracting new donors, you need to build the like-know-trust factor with them.
But the ones who already volunteer or otherwise work for your nonprofit are the ones who know the organization best. And that’s crucial in attracting donors! They’re already primed and know the value of the mission.
Here are two ways to turn in-house for additional support:
Are They Already Supporting Monetarily? If Not, Can They?
Build relationships with your volunteers, team members, and your board of directors. Ask them what drove them to support the organization by working with it? Focus on those relationships because they are worth more than simply asking for monetary support.
When you do have a better relationship with them, then ask if it would be okay to include them in your upcoming fundraising campaigns. You can tell them about the goals you’re wanting to make in fundraising. You can be completely transparent with them – it will take you so much further!
Now, if the answer is “no,” – then move on to the next “mini” idea. Oh, and if the answer is “yes,” then also move on to the next “mini” idea.
Can They Spread Awareness Through Word-of-Mouth?
Word-of-mouth marketing is still, hands-down, the single best way to get your organization’s name out there.
Think of it in terms of things you may have purchased. Let’s say, you’ve been doing your research for a new mattress. But there is loads of information out there. And it’s all contradicting one another. Yet, you need a new mattress because you’re not getting the quality sleep you know you need.
Where do you go? More than likely, you start asking your friends and family. The people you know. Posting on your Facebook or Instagram channels to even ask acquaintances. “What mattress do you recommend?”
The same goes for your nonprofit organization. People want to support. But there are so many organizations out there. And a lot of them may be supporting the same cause you do.
So, leveraging word-of-mouth referrals is one major way to attract new donors to your nonprofit! Ask your volunteers, team members, and board of directors if they can do that!
5. Network with Your Current Donors
Your current donors clearly want to support your nonprofit. Some of them are willing to go the extra mile, too! All you need to do is ask (and tell them how they can do that).
Tell your donors they can continue to support your cause by creating peer-to-peer fundraising. They can easily do this through their social media channels, like Instagram or Facebook.
You might even want to create a special video tutorial or a blog post walking them through how to do this!
It’s similar to asking your volunteers and board members to support your nonprofit through word-of-mouth referral. And that means it’s a surefire way to attract new donors.
6. Collaborate with Other Like-Minded, Similar-Values Nonprofits or Organizations
Collaboration is one of the new, trendy marketing techniques in the for-profit world. But that doesn’t mean nonprofits can’t utilize it, too!
If you can build relationships with others at like-minded organizations that are working toward a similar mission, then you can leverage collaborations.
Doing so opens the door to new supporters for both your nonprofit and its partner. You’ll essentially “trade” audiences.
You can collaborate in many different ways, but here are some of our favorites:
- Swap guest blog posts if you both prioritize blogging content marketing and SEO
- Co-author an email newsletter and send it out to both nonprofit email lists
- Host either a virtual, in-person, or hybrid fundraising event together – it’ll boost brand awareness for both of you
7. Find Donors for Your Nonprofit by Going To Them, Instead of Waiting for Them to Come to You
Part of finding new donors is less about “attracting” them, and more about going directly to them.
Find out where they spend their time. Are they going to major events in your area? Do they frequent specific locations? Where are your ideal donors that are nearby hanging out?
When you figure that out, then you can go directly to the source. You’re taking the initiative here, rather than just waiting, hoping they find you online.
Is there a way to partner with events or locations they hang out at? Can you set up a booth out front?
8. Attract New Donors Online with Consistent, Cohesive Branding
Showing up online is one of the best ways to attract new donors. But finding donors online involves grabbing their attention in an ocean of other content. And we’re not just talking about other nonprofits! We’re talking about content creators and anyone else who posts online.
If you’re looking to snag their attention, then consistent, cohesive branding is a top way to do that. The repetition of seeing your color palette, your logo, and your brand messaging over and over again will stick in their minds.
By the time they’re ready to donate to any organization, they’ll think of yours first! So prioritize branding your nonprofit effectively.
You can also use Canva Pro for nonprofits to create incredible graphics for your social media channels, website, and emails.
And if you want an inside tour of Canva for nonprofits, check out this free training video!
9. Create an Unforgettable Online Presence for Your Nonprofit
Online fundraising statistics are showing that finding donors online is proving to be successful for most nonprofits! (We say most – not all – because, again, all nonprofits are different.)
So if you’re in the majority, then creating an unforgettable online presence for your organization is going to be worth the effort.
Similar to prioritizing branding, your online presence will attract new donors by snagging their attention. Not only that, but when you combine branding with the “mini” ideas below? You’ll grab their attention and keep it long enough to get them to know, like, and trust your organization.
Double Down on Effective Storytelling
Storytelling is how the human brain is wired to make sense of the world. When you can reel someone in with your nonprofit’s story, you’ve got them hooked.
And there’s nothing wrong with that! If you have a nonprofit mission worth sharing, then you should utilize the appropriate methods to share it!
Effective storytelling is an incredibly powerful way to do that. If you want to learn how to ethically communicate your nonprofit’s story, without fear of exploitation, then our sister site, CharityHowTo, has a training that can help you.
Get Crystal Clear with Your Nonprofit Copywriting
100% of your nonprofit’s revenue comes from effectively communicating your mission and its value.
Some of that communication may come from speaking to people in person. But if you’re building an online presence to attract new donors, then you’ll want to know the foundations of nonprofit copywriting!
Create Compelling Social Media Ads Campaigns
Social media ad campaigns are a powerful way to get your nonprofit directly in front of your ideal donors.
When you have your ideal donor persona created, you can use a lot of the information to build out your ad campaigns. You can target supporters based on their interests, location, age range, and more.
So rather than depending solely on organic content, you can push out content about your nonprofit to new donors knowing it will reach them.
Build a Community of Support Through Your Nonprofit Email List
And, for most nonprofit organizations, a proven method of finding donors online is by building a consistent nonprofit email list.
According to recent online fundraising statistics, a large portion of donors found emails to be the communication tool that inspired them to give the most.
So, if attracting new donors is the goal, then it’s a great idea to build a community of supporters through an email list!
10. Diversify Your Support Options to Welcome New Donors
Finally, broaden your support options to welcome new donors! Even among your ideal donors, some prefer to give in certain ways.
Don’t leave anyone out by only offering one method of giving. Here are two “mini” ideas to help you diversify your donors’ options to support:
Offer a Few Different Giving Levels Supporters Can Opt Into
Some want to donate more annually and others want to donate less each month. So offer a few different giving levels they can opt into.
Start with your average gift size. What’s the amount most people donate? Then reduce that for a lower option. On the opposite end, have one or two options that challenge donors to support more.
You may also want to consider starting a monthly giving program that supporters can opt into!
Accept Different Types of Funds
Gone are the days when people only wanted to mail in a check. Now, we have options such as credit and debit card transactions. We have money-sending apps, like PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo.
And we even have cryptocurrency!
Opening up opportunities for payment methods is a great way to attract new donors! Because not everyone wants to take the time to send in a check. Some want quicker, more convenient ways of giving.
Devoting time toward attracting new donors, whether it’s in-person or online, is critical for every nonprofit. But sometimes, you run out of ideas on how to find new donors.
These 10 ideas are a great starting point! You may want to work these into your current donor acquisition plan so you have more time to see what works for your organization and what doesn’t!