You can create a donor attraction campaign with these 5 steps.
In the previous article (How Changing your Mindset Will Help You Attract New Donors), I shared a different kind of mindset that can help your organization consistently find new donors.
This way of thinking is key to creating an effective donor attraction campaign, so go read the article, or if you’d like a guide that will teach the mindset and how to build this campaign in more detail, get it here!
A few important points about this campaign:
- It’s platform-neutral: it can work regardless of the marketing (social media or advertising) platforms you use to get in front of potential donors.
- It’s just the first step: the end goal of this strategy is to find new donors by growing your email list; after that, it’s up to you and your team to effectively build a relationship with them.
- The focus is digital: this approach helps you attract donors through digital marketing and therefore relies on your team having some knowledge of online tools (for your website, marketing, etc), and on being able to creatively find ways to serve that audience virtually.
Without further ado, here are the 5 steps to build a campaign that consistently attracts new donors to your email list.
1) Measure the Value of Your Resource Idea(s)
In the first article, I shared how to brainstorm ideas for resources that could serve potential donors. Before you invest time in creating a resource, you need to make sure it’s something this audience would actually want.
The best way to do this is to get feedback from your current network, asking them to choose the idea that seems most helpful. Taking this a step further, ask if they want you to send it to them when it’s created! (The more people who say “yes” to this question, the more valuable you know it will be.)
The people you can ask for feedback include current donors, stakeholders, your email list, social media audiences, and even friends/family who fall into the same categories as your donors.
As to how to get feedback, I recommend using an online survey as these are user-friendly and help you keep all the responses in one place.
Another strategy you can use to research the value of your resource is to see how many other people are offering similar solutions online – use search engines, YouTube, and social media to find out what people are already asking about or offering. This will give you a basic idea of the potential demand for your proposed resource.
2) Choose & Create your Resource
This step is straightforward: taking the feedback you receive, choose the resource that seems will both help and be desirable to potential donors.
Here are some ideas for the format your digital resource can take:
- Step-by-step guide
- Case studies
- Research report
- Video/video series
- Pre-recorded audio (interview, podcast, etc.)
In the full guide, you can get a lot of ideas (from different nonprofit sectors) for resources – here are some examples:
- A quiz to help your family pick the right kind of pet for you (Animal Shelter)
- An eBook about how to help a loved one with dementia (Human Services)
- 5 easy ways to reduce electricity use and save on your bill (Environment)
3) Create a “Welcome Series” email campaign
A “Welcome Series” email campaign is an automated, short campaign of a few emails to introduce your organization while continuing to serve potential donors who recently downloaded your resource.
In this step, you need to deliver your solution and follow up with more ideas to help these new subscribers. At the same time, it’s relevant to introduce your organization and mission—in doing so, you’re showing them why you have the expertise to help with the problem or question they had when they came to you in the first place.
Over time you can continue to serve, share stories, and invite them to support your work in one way or another (join an event, volunteer, donate, etc).
4) Offer your Resource
Although the “Welcome Series” comes after someone has already subscribed, you still need to offer the resource in the first place!
The best way to do this is on a dedicated landing page. There is a lot of information already out there on how to create a landing page, so I recommend looking it up.
In short, your landing page should:
- Communicate the issue or question your visitors have
- Show how your resource can help them solve this problem or answer their question
- Provide a simple way for them to access it if they subscribe (opt-in form)
- Keep the visitor focused on their problem and this potential solution (don’t distract them with other topics, outside links, or multiple actions they can take)
If you look at this landing page, you can get some ideas by experiencing it for yourself – no need to opt-in!
5) Promote your Resource
There are many ways to promote your resource – so I recommend using the strategy that fits best with your organization’s strengths and limitations.
Also, share it with your network freely (without requiring them to subscribe), just as a measure of goodwill. Their response to you about it will also provide helpful feedback!
Here are some ideas for getting the resource out to potential donors:
- Email (to volunteers, partners, and anyone who isn’t yet a donor)
- Share your resource with other influencers who help solve different problems for the same kind of people, and ask them to link to (your resource on) your site
- Follow SEO best practices when it comes to your site’s keywords, metatags, citations, etc.
- DigitalMarketer.com, NeilPatel.com, and many others have a lot of wisdom to share in this area. Here’s one helpful article.
- Blog article (if you already have a following)
- Social media
- Google Ad Grants
- Other advertising
- Partner promotions
- Direct mail
- Events (virtual, in-person)
In the end, the heart of this approach is to expand your nonprofit’s mission by serving your donors. Find ways to attract and strengthen your relationship with them by seeing how your organization’s strengths can help meet their needs.
In doing this, you will naturally attract new people, some of whom will partner with you to help others.
In fundraising, we always talk about the importance of sharing stories about your mission.
How much more powerful will it be if your potential donors have experienced that story personally, so the story of your mission has also become their own?
Chris Barlow is the author of this article, the Director of Beeline, and masterfully puts his two youngest boys down for a nap every day.
Expecting to work in a cause-focused career or ministry when he grew up, he was surprised to discover his passion for business. Five years ago, he came full-circle and has been happily serving nonprofits ever since.
Beeline helps align your mission and fundraising through marketing that serves.