Guest Post: 3 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Supercharge its Donor Acquisition

Donor Acquisition

Donor acquisition is both a core need and a core challenge facing nonprofits of all sizes. Nonprofit organizations need to raise money to survive and donor acquisition is the bridge between wanting to serve a cause and having the means to do so.

Consider these three steps when looking to expand your portfolio of donors and maintain financial stability moving forward:


People are protective of their income. Donors are incredibly generous with their money, but just because they’re charitable doesn’t mean they’re disconnected from their funds. A person donating to a nonprofit wants to see a direct line from the contribution to the organization’s use of those funds.

Let your donors rest easy knowing their money has been put to use in a tangible way.

Think of all of the opportunities for clear communication and transparency during a fundraising event, like a golf tournament. A well-run golf tournament will have detailed sponsorship levels for prospects to choose from. The rewards of those levels are a great way to entice an extra donation. Additionally, your website could include a page detailing the financial success of your past golf event and how those funds were allocated (infographics perhaps?).

Communication with donors should be like show and tell. Show the donors where their funds are going in a clear way, and tell donors where funds have gone in the past by citing concrete outcomes.


Let’s say you’ve done extensive prospect research and now have a great list of potential donors; a big factor in turning those prospects into donors relies on your organization’s stewardship skills. Donors are not technically clients, but they should be treated as such. No matter how great your cause or your organization is, if a donor does not have a positive experience with your staff she will likely not come back or recommend you to her friends.

Every donation prospect could be a valuable asset for your organization and should be treated as such. The better your relationship with the individual, the more likely the prospect is to donate and want to continue with your cause in a fiscally beneficial way.

A good conversation with a prospect could reveal where he or she works. If his or her company offers a matching gifts program where it matches its employees’ charitable contributions, your prospect now has twice the donation potential. Good stewardship helps make sure valuable information doesn’t remain obscured.

Beyond the interpersonal interactions between prospects and your staff, your online presence is another opportunity to demonstrate your excellent customer service skills. People like to give online. It is efficient and quickly becoming the donation outlet of choice.

Think of your organization’s online media as an additional staffer that is there to help interested donors in any way possible. You can utilize your online platform to share links, videos, pictures, and educational information to help foster giving.


You can’t improve if you don’t know where improvement is needed. I’m sure even the most financially effective campaigns have a few mistakes. So the best way to review your success post-campaign is through data from said campaign. And the best way to get that data? Surveys! Cater your survey to your organization’s needs and the type of campaign you ran.

Focus your surveys by asking questions like:

  • What was the best part of your donation experience? What do you wish you could change?
  • What influenced your decision to donate? What influenced your decision not to donate?

You can disseminate the survey in multiple ways:

The goal is to get as many survey responses as possible. The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to analyze trends in the data. Get creative in how you encourage survey participation.

Understanding your donors’ mindsets will drastically improve your organization’s understanding of most donors’ mindsets. That knowledge is paramount to your acquisition prosperity.

Keep these strategies in mind as you move forward with donor acquisition. Acquisition is a personalized process that varies by organization. However, entering the field with a solid understanding of the best practices within the community will help your nonprofit get ahead of the competition.

Once you’ve got a firm grasp on donor acquisition, make sure your donor retention strategies are up to the challenge of maintaining all those new donors. You want to keep as many gained donors as possible.

Gretchen Barry, Director of Marketing — Gretchen has been a leader in corporate communications and marketing for 20+ years. Gretchen has published numerous articles related to charitable giving and is a passionate advocate for public schools.  Gretchen has donated her time to numerous causes including Relay for Life, Girls on the Run, Rebuilding Together, and just recently became involved with the local land trust.  Gretchen graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in English literature.

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