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The Basics of Donor Acquisition

Fundraising is a worthwhile effort and deeply satisfying, but it is definitely not the easiest job in the world. When looking for donors, it may feel like you are losing a game of hide and seek – the donors are out there and you know it, but you have no idea how to start looking for them.

Prospect Research

Prospect screenings are generally associated with acquisition but are often discussed in terms of getting to know the prospects you already have to ensure your chances of securing a donation.

Prospect screening involves:

  • Previous donations you have received
  • Contributions to other nonprofits
  • Personal Information
  • Philanthropic involvement

Getting a better picture of your donors is one of the many benefits of prospect screening. It lets you pinpoint donors who are open to giving and most interested in your cause. When you find new donors through a report of a similar organization, you can be more certain that these candidates are qualified.

Giving Levels

It’s easy to screen a prospect and analyze their past activities to pin them as the ideal candidate. You want to know if you can trust them and rely on them for a certain level of donation, and it’d be great if the candidate is interested in that the cause. But if they aren’t, the organization should have other options available to them.

Having variable giving levels will prevent prospective candidates from thinking they can only be affiliated with your organization if they donate a certain amount. By allowing them what is convenient, you are welcoming them to your forum. Planned giving could also be a decent alternative, since you could still get a sizable donation, but it wouldn’t be an immediate gift.

Seek Board Assistance

Your board does not exist in a vacuum. Each board member has family, friends, and business contacts. By asking them to make some key introductions, you can use them as strong assets in your search for new donors.

When a prospect is already connected to a member of the board, they can help create trust for your organization from the get-go. This  will work as a verification of sorts – personal recommendations and relationships are always the most powerful tools!

Seek Help from Friends

Your board members are not the only ones with their own social lives. You have yours too. Use your network and connections wisely to find donors who’d be willing to donate to your organization. You can either use peer-to-peer fundraising where individuals create fundraising pages themselves for your cause, or crowd funding where a single page suffices for all donations.

Prioritize Web Presence

People spend a large chunk of their time on the internet. That’s how they pick restaurants and talk to their peers. If you want to seamlessly reach new donors, you need to have a solid web presence. By building online authority and developing social media accounts, you can get new contacts and find new prospects. Use social media to spread a message and aim to make interested donors move from the website scanning stage to the donating stage.

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