If you are involved in a nonprofit that relies on individual financial gifts, donor acquisition is surely one of your constant challenges. Instead of seeing it as a goal or a destination, consider getting and keeping donors as a recurring part of what you do—a rewarding journey that never ends.
Below we’ve compiled our best practices for donor acquisition in one place.
Have any questions? We’re always ready to help!
Grassroot Best Practices for Donor Acquisition
Know your donors.
Before you try and acquire new donors, it’s important to understand who your current donors are. What are their demographics, or common attributes? Where did they come from–past campaigns, events, board outreach? What do they care about? What motivates them to give to you?
Make a plan/budget and set goals
Every campaign should have a plan and specific goals. Goals need to be specific, measurable and attainable. Look at your past acquisition history and see if you can increase new donors by 2%. If you haven’t engaged in new donor acquisition – figure a goal based on the average return of a direct mail campaign.
Lists: Choose carefully.
All lists are not the same, so carefully consider the type of list you want to use.
• Demographics – based on the qualities of your current donors.
• Subscribers – publications that would be of interest to you donors.
• Donors – compiled list of donors to similar causes or donor of organizations that have a similar or complementary mission.
Consider your creative.
If you’re doing a mail piece, you want it to stand out. Consider a size not often used, such as 6×9 in or 5×7 in. Don’t be shy about color, either. Make the most of your package with a full-color envelope or letter. If you’re limited to two-color, be sure the make the most by adding an illustration or a tag line. People want to be seen, heard, and understood. Be sure to personalize throughout your letter and reply materials to help create that personal feel.
Tell a story.
Showing is always better than telling. Use an emotional story from someone who has benefitted from your organization to demonstrate the difference your donor can make.
Show your achievements.
Don’t be afraid to brag a little. New donors want to know about your success and plans for your mission going forward. Get them excited to be part of something meaningful.
Integrate across channels.
The days of a single-channel campaign are gone. Use your messaging across all your platforms to amplify your message’s reach. Many who receive a letter will go to your website to seek more information, and it may take a few impressions—a letter and then a boosted Facebook post—to catch their attention.
Improve your campaigns’ effectiveness by trialing parts of it as you go. Try different envelopes, two-color vs four-color, or even different copy. Measure the results and apply what you learn in future campaigns or even later in the same campaign. You might also try adding something extra—like a pen, or a keychain, or an offer to provide a thank-you gift for a certain donation level—and see if response rates change.
Track all of your results.
Every campaign provides insightful data you can learn from. Whether it is response rates from certain lists or understanding what motivates your donors to give, mine your data for clues that will help you create better campaigns down the road.
Want to glean more from your data?
Check out DonorTrends and learn how to target your donors and prospects: https://grassrootcommunication.com/fundraisers/donortrends/
Call or email us today to talk about your next project.
Susan@grassrootcommunication.com -or- 540-428-7000 x3032