Nonprofits can spend thousands of dollars doing big mailings and raking in new donors. I get appeal letters regularly from nonprofits I've never heard of and have no intention of giving to. Such large investments can bring in 2 to 3% of the audience you mail to, which makes this strategy not cost effective for small or medium sized organizations. So, how does a small nonprofit find new donors to add to their ranks? There are a few sure-fire ways to beef up your base of support.
5) Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer giving. Everybody's doing it. You should to. More and more donors - especially women - don't just bring their cash to the table when they become a donor. They bring their entire network with them. Give them an opportunity to become more deeply engaged in your work by asking the small and mid-level donors on your list to become fundraisers on your behalf. Get them involved in a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer giving campaign. Crowdfunding means that you put together your own donate page on a crowdfunding site like gofundme or kickstarter. Peer-to-peer funding means that you recruit several fundraisers who set goals to fundraise on your behalf. For example, during most #GivingTuesday campaigns, I ask 10 - 20 people to fundraise for my organization. They set up their own fundraising pages through our website and they send around requests for funding to their friends and family as they try to reach their goal. This is peer-to-peer fundraising. Facebook birthday fundraisers are all peer-to-peer fundraisers. Set up and experiment with some crowdfundraising and peer-to-peer fundraisers for your organization, and hopefully you will bring in a few new names to support your work.
4) Small cultivation events. Small circle dinners hosted by your Board members or donors are a big win for growing your support. Your host supplies the food and wine. You help fill the room with a good mix of current donors. They invite friends, colleagues, family and neighbors. I grew an organization's base of support by 75% in one year this way!
3) Partner for Growth. It's time to partner up. Find a corporate supporter in your community and think of exciting ways to partner with them. The Humane Society partners with local pet stores to bring puppies up for adoption out to the stores. That's how I got my dog and became a supporter of the Humane Society. I once worked with a major national jewelry store to sell bracelets that benefited my non-profit with every sale (also known as cause marketing). There are lots of inventive ways to partner. Get creative, and then reach out to businesses and other nonprofits that you know are supportive of your work. You never know what can come of it!
2) Conduct regular list building activities. Table at conferences and festivals. Conduct local giveaways and raffles. Collect emails and names like you mean business! Conduct regular list building activities. New followers on social media and new listserve subscribers are a heartbeat away from being new donors.
1) Last, but never least, the best strategy to increase your donor base is to ENGAGE AND RETAIN YOUR CURRENT DONORS. Seriously. If you want new donors, you need to take care of the ones you have. Make sure you have a robust donor retention and engagement plan. Make sure you're engaging your donors regularly, without asking for money, and communicating impact. That's how word gets around about you being a fantastic nonprofit. Donors who are engaged will host parties for you. They'll sign-up to fundraise for you. They'll tell their friends and neighbors about you, connect you to other potential funders and donors and bend over backwards for you. IF they believe in your cause and they know, without a doubt, that their contribution to your organization makes a difference. So make sure that keeping the donors that you have is your number one strategy for getting in new donors.