Grow Your Donor Base

Takeaways from POINT’s Educational Panel with NXUnite about ways to grow your donor base.

Madison Mikhail Bush, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of POINT joined NXUnite’s panel on “Resourceful Sourcing: How Nonprofits Can Grow Their Donor Base” with nonprofit professionals from across the nation. They shared key insights on how to grow your donor base and the importance of understanding your donors. 

Grow Your Donor Base

Knowing How to Grow Your Donor Base  📈

Developing new strategies to bring in more donors is essential for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits rely on fundraising to fuel their mission, so the sustainability of an organization relies on its donor base. 

“If you do not have donors coming in to support you, you will be unable to support your organization’s mission, hire the resources you need, and bring in the technologies you need.” 

Shawn Olds, Chief Executive Officer of boodleAI. 

Donors bring in more than just money. They bring in networks, experience, corporate dollars, and sometimes even take on a more active role. It’s crucial to have donors at all levels and never make assumptions about donor support. You can also look to volunteers as a part of your donor base. In fact, 87% of volunteers said there is an overlap between the organizations they volunteer with and those they support financially.

Strengthening Donor Support and Retention 🧲

The nonprofit space is very competitive when it comes to donors—all nonprofits need them, and often you compete with other organizations for a share of donor funding. The relationship your organization has with its supporters is super important for retention and expanding your base. 

“When you think of engagement, you need to think about segmenting. Understanding what someone wants allows you to learn how to communicate with them and build that relationship moving forward.” 

Madison Mikhail Bush, Founder and CEO of POINT

Consider segmenting your lists, think about who has recurring donations, who volunteers on a regular basis, philanthropists vs. families vs. foundations, etc. Once you have an understanding of your supporters, consider how and with what they engage.

“Engagement and retention are linked. The donors that want to stay are the ones who are most engaged.” 

Stephanie Brouwer, Data and Research Manager at Creative Fundraising Advisors. 

Look to volunteers as the first extension of your donor base—they already are highly engaged by donating time, and many might be able to contribute financially too. As an organization, you should understand what drives people to engage with you.

What messages do your supporters engage with, what social media channels, what events, what time during the year do you get the most traction, etc. The next time your organization is thinking about an engagement strategy, think, “segmentation, replication, than creativity.” 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What do your supporters want to engage with? 
  • Why have they engaged with you in the past? 
  • Was it the type of event that attracted them? 

Leveraging Your Organization’s Technology  👩‍💻

Technology plays a huge role when it comes to building your organization’s donor base. Not only does it provide you a way to consistently engage with your supporters and manage your nonprofit’s operations, but it also helps with searching for new donors

“Technology can help you find the people that can connect to your mission. As people are impacted by your nonprofit, make sure you are also tracking them.” 

Amy Funk, Fundraising Consultant and Senior Vice President at Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, LLC. 

Remember the following key points when using technology to prospect donors: 

  • Understand how your donor data is being used 
  • Know where your donor data is being stored 
  • Understand how your donor data is being protected 

When it comes to technology, there is rarely a “one size fits all” solution. For example, you might use different technologies for prospecting than for soliciting gifts, thanking people, and processing donations. As an organization, think about the main challenges that you face when it comes to your donor program, and then let the tech do the work for you. 

Bring your volunteer tech together with your fundraising tech with POINT’s integration with Kindful.

Looking Ahead: Grow Your Donor Base 🌱

Different donors respond better to different communication strategies. You can even do a segmentation exercise for communications, where you keep track of which platforms (email vs. social media vs. phone calls) get certain donors to engage more frequently. Nonprofits will always be looking for better ways to retain donors and increase their base. Luckily now there is a vast amount of resources they can turn to such as nonprofit podcasts, webinars, and tools to assist their efforts when building out their donor retention and growth strategy.

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Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.