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12 Ways to Attract New Donors

How do I find new donors?

It’s the question every nonprofit fundraiser must face. The white whale of fundraising. And you need to have an answer. Don’t let finding donor prospects intimidate you.

Indeed, with some simple tactics and small adjustments to your current processes, learning how to attract new donors is easy. And we have compiled some donor acquisition strategies to help you do just that.

But before you launch your acquisition campaign, you need to decide who you’re going to target. So, how do you identify donor prospects? After all, they look just like everyone else.

Use these three essential criteria to identify your donor prospects:

  • Access: Do you have an existing relationship with this person?
  • Belief: Do they support your cause?
  • Capacity: Have they shown the financial capability of being a donor?

Once you figure out who your new donors will be, you have to go out and get them! Check out these twelve ideas for how to get donors for your nonprofit:

1. Relationship mapping

Your current donors, board members, and volunteers are a great way to discover connections to new donors. Who do they bring to events? Who shares your social media posts? Sincerely cultivate your existing relationships. It’s not just good donor stewardship. It boosts your reputation in the eyes of prospects.

2. Research, research, research

Research your donor prospects. They’re definitely going to research you. Read your local newspapers and magazines to see who’s active in your community; stay current on announcements of key new hires and promotions at prominent local companies; and don’t forget donor lists published in other organization’s annual reports, artistic playbills, and fundraising event programs. The right research can provide a wealth of information about whose interests intersect with your mission.

3. Be where they are

New donors aren’t going to just walk in your door. Find out what social media your prospects use, where they get their news, and what other organizations they support. Take part in these same activities to build their awareness of your nonprofit.

Once you’ve identified your target groups, you’re ready to begin your outreach for a successful acquisition campaign.

Today, we’re going to talk about donor prospect outreach. Specifically, methods you can incorporate into your fundraising efforts to attract new donors to your nonprofit. Now that you have a solid strategy and a great message to share with prospects, how do you get their attention?

4. Leverage your volunteers

Volunteers are already giving you their most valuable gift—their time. Get to know why they volunteer, where they work, and what your common interests are. If you’re not including volunteers in your fundraising appeals, you’re missing a golden opportunity.

5. Turn your board into advocates

Share tips with your board about how to bring their involvement with your nonprofit up in casual conversation with friends and colleagues. Give your board the tools they need to feel comfortable talking about your organization. 

6. Launch a peer-to-peer campaign

The power of social media, combined with the ease of online giving, has contributed to the rise in popularity of peer-to-peer fundraising. Encourage dedicated donors to spread the word among their friends and family. These initiatives introduce you to new donors through a respected, trusted referral.

7. Host an event

Start a community Open House or Town Hall discussion series. Invite people to your office or partner with a local café or bookstore. Or even better, host a hybrid or virtual event that will expand your reach!  This is a wonderful opportunity to gather contact information, increase engagement, and hear firsthand what people think and feel.

8. Build partnerships

Collaborate with like-minded organizations to build trust with an extended audience.

9. Get out in the community

If you’re an introvert, don’t think about having to “work the room.” Start by meeting one or two new people at each event. Move up to challenging yourself to make five new connections before you leave an event. Before you know it, you’ll recognize familiar faces and build your network.

10. Host cultivation parties

Ask board members and donors you have a close relationship with to throw house parties and invite friends and colleagues. Use a brief portion of the evening to share your organization’s work with the room. Ask your host to speak about why they support you and encourage others to give. Use a guest book (or laptop) to collect mailing addresses and emails, and follow up with guests the next day to say how good it was to meet them.

11. Cultivate the next generation

Start a young professionals group to attract more Millennial and Gen X donors. Host casual events like happy hours, book clubs, and social activities. Add purpose to your party by providing relevant information and a call to action. Invite regular attendees to be part of a peer-to-peer campaign or invite them to join your board and grow your diversity.

12. Maximize corporate partnerships

If your corporate partners offer employee matching gift programs, make sure you’re featured in their internal updates. What opportunities do you have that a corporate partner might be interested in supporting, thereby advertising you to their clients and customers?

No matter your staff or budget size, dedicating time and resources to regular donor acquisition activities is essential to the health of your organization. Incorporate these ideas into your donor acquisition campaign to get donors for your nonprofit and create an engaging donor experience from the very beginning. Download our eGuide, New Donors: Getting the Ungettable Get, for more insights into what it takes to find, attract, and retain new donors.

Updated: May 11, 2022

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