Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.
The one-size-fits-all mentality may work with buying a hat but it is not an effective way to attract new donors to your nonprofit.
It is possible to diversify your revenue and bring sustainability to your organization by attracting new donors. These individual donors will want to support your organization and its mission.
We have identified three key items that you can immediately implement to attract new donors to your organization.
1. Choose to engage the donor’s head and heart to make the investment decision.
While some donors want to hear about the tear-jerking story, other donors gravitate to the infographic that clearly demonstrates the direct numbers impacted by the mission of the organization. And to make things a little more difficult, some donors appreciate both – the heart felt story and the hard facts combined with data.
We have found that you will achieve your best results from a donor appeal letter when you genuinely know your audience. Keep in mind that this is not only the words on the paper – it is also how your solicitation letter made them feel. You want your donors (and prospective donors) to remember their feelings, even after the last punctuation mark on the paper.
When marketing to a donor demographic that you have not identified their giving preference, go with the heartfelt story. Make sure you are able to clearly illustrate the impact numbers of your organization and, when possible, couple this with a client name, face and personal story. All the better to paint the picture for your donor to feel the impact of their donation.
2. Know what makes your organization stand out from the crowd.
Become crystal clear about the characteristics that make your organization different or better than other organizations. With 1.5 billion nonprofits in the United States, you want to show your existing donors, and potentially new donors, why they should invest in your nonprofit. The competition to gain a funders loyalty is fierce. Are you up for the challenge?
You may not always be the superior organization in your community that provides the necessary programming to the individuals that need the services. However, you are an extremely important piece of the social impact puzzle and you are working collaboratively with other nonprofits to solve the community problem. You are, aren’t you?
Simply put, without your organization, the social impact puzzle is not complete. The problem will remain to be a contributing factor to your community. The donor nor the client wants to see the organization as a stand-alone hero. It is not appealing to invest in a know-it-all organization.
3. Identify your network.
It is extremely difficult to gain support (or keep support) from someone that you do not know or does not know your organization.
We suggest that you go back to Fundraising 101 - start at the beginning. Connect with those individuals that directly know and care about your organization. These individuals can quickly be identified as board members, community volunteers and sometimes, client families. Look at your donor database and identify your consistent supporters. Once you gained their backing, you will want to ask for their assistance. Ask them if they would be willing to help by reaching out to their network.
When you empower your supporters with the right information and the right training, they are often more than willing to help you grow your donor potential. By implementing this fundraising best practice, your support circle will continue to grow from year after year.
These fundraising concepts can significantly improve the outcome of your donor letters. Do not forget, these are people giving to people. They do not want to feel like a dollar sign or a number on an excel file; they want to genuinely feel appreciated even before they give their first gift.
Jacque joined The Rayvan Group in December 2015 and brings 15 years of experience and training in nonprofit development and organizational management.
Working as the sole fundraiser and writer for small nonprofits such as the Phoenix Theatre, Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, Native American Community Center, YWCA Metro Phoenix, and ICM Food & Clothing Bank, she planned and implemented capital campaigns, major and planned gift initiatives, special events, annual giving and direct mail programs, as well as managing all aspects of corporate and foundation fundraising. Jacque has helped over 5 organizations raise over $9.5 million.
She holds a BS in Political Science and Nonprofit Management from Arizona State University and a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) from CFRE International, the global standard for the fundraising profession. She has also served as president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals- Greater Arizona Chapter. JAhrenberg@TheRayvanGroup.com