Do you want to attract new donors?
When it comes to fundraising, investing in your relationship with current donors is the most important (and effective) thing to do. Just as in business, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one.
Yet every year, every nonprofit loses donors, and if that trend continues you can see where it might go. Furthermore, because growing your donor base is much harder than donor retention, it’s much harder to get good information on it!
That’s why I’ve written this article.
Marketing seems to hold the promise to help your organization attract donors, but it often must take a back seat to your mission and fundraising—there’s only so much time for the busy ED!
This is why a fundamental shift in your approach to marketing, fundraising, and your mission is needed.
When marketing can align both your mission and fundraising efforts, it stops becoming stressful and overwhelming.
Instead, marketing becomes exciting when it can expand your nonprofit’s mission in new and powerful ways.
Specifically, how does it do this?
By making it your mission to serve donors, too.
If you’d like a detailed guide about how to take on this approach in your organization and marketing, get it here!
3 Questions for Your Org’s Leaders
Before you start any campaign, there are 3 fundamental, almost identity-level questions that you need to be able to answer. The answers to these questions will guide you and your team in the most effective way to implement this strategy.
I recommend that the ED and the Board, or the ED and the Development & Marketing team, sit down for a 30-minute meeting to discuss these three questions, take notes, and make a plan.
Question 1. Who is our donor?
To best understand who your donors are, I recommend using a concept called the donor persona. A donor persona is a generalized representation of your ideal supporters, based on insights you gather from actual donors and from market research.
A donor persona makes it easier to create specific content that will help new potential donors. Persona profiles include demographics, interests, online platforms they use, and most importantly their specific needs, concerns, and behaviors.
Question 2. What are our areas of expertise?
This question essentially means: where are your strengths, and how are you fulfilling your mission?
You need to consider your potential areas of expertise—both your organizational strengths, and the strengths of all of those in leadership.
During the meeting, take the time to write down all the potential areas where you take the knowledge, experience, and skills you have collectively, to create resources to serve others.
Question 3. Where do our areas of expertise overlap with our donor’s needs?
This diagram illustrates the important area to identify in this last part of your meeting: where do your potential donor’s needs align with your areas of expertise?
Once you’ve identified an area of big (or broad) need for potential donors where you could also help them, you need to start brainstorming a resource you could use to serve them.
Keep your mind open to changing plans if needed; this meeting nevertheless will be valuable because the exercise of thinking through your donor persona, your expertise, and this area of overlap might uncover new opportunities for your organization’s growth or mission, or in a rare instance, might show you that your strengths aren’t in direct alignment with your mission!
When finished, your Development/Marketing Director can take your conclusions and turn them into a practical campaign capable of consistently finding new donors. In the next part of this article, we’ll look at how to create this type of campaign.
If you want a more detailed guide, you can download one here.
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.