How To Grow Your Donorbase

If donor acquisition were easy, everyone would do it.

All of the tried-and-true methods have obvious flaws. Buying lists is costly and ineffective. Cold-calling (or cold-emailing) donors to similar causes won’t yield a high return. And adding a colorful image and solicitation to your email signature won’t attract much attention. 

The absolute best way to acquire new donors is to leverage your existing ones. There are two key ways to utilize your current supporters to fill in your donor pipeline.

Strategy #1: Ask For Warm Introductions

Find 10 people in your support base who:

  • are dedicated to your organization
  • run in social circles that fit your target demographic. 

Ask each of those 10 people to think of five more people who

  • are not current donors
  • would enjoy the opportunity to hear about investing in your organization. 

Ask them to send an email to their five people with one simple request: to meet a representative of an organization that they care deeply about to hear about the opportunities that lie ahead. 

Make it easy for your introducers. Write the intro email for them so they have a template they can personalize. The request in the email should be singular and clear. 

With this one simple exercise, you will have warm leads for 50 new donors to your organization! 

Strategy #2: Peer-To-Peer Campaigns

Ask your most loyal supporters (who aren’t necessarily your largest givers, by the way) to take on fundraising goals. Give them the tools (even the exact scripts they can use) to reach out to their family and friends. 

The number one reason why people give to your organization is because they were asked in a personal and genuine way. It’s why bike-a-thons and walks work so well. 

Your most loyal supporters will have no problem asking their social networks to donate to your cause. The fundraising goal they have set for themselves ensures that they reach as ambitiously-but-realistically as possible. 

Once your peer-to-peer campaign is up and running, give your Ambassadors a shoutout on your organization’s social media channels. Make it public. Celebrate their loyalty and dedication to your cause. 

Scream it from the rooftops: your cause thrives on the positive energy of your donorbase! 

Bonus Long Term Strategy #3: Donor acquisition begets donor retention

Fundraising is an ongoing cycle. Even once you’ve achieved your goals, there is still more to do. 

After your peer-to-peer campaign, you will have a host of new donors. Your job then becomes to communicate with them. Shower them with gratitude. Report back as to how their donations were used. 

Remember that your cause was their secondary reason for giving. The main reason they gave is because a friend asked. As a result, you have a responsibility to make them care about your cause. To inspire them. To make them feel heroic for their generosity. 

After your warm introductions, your job is to build relationships. Make these new leads fall in love with your organization the same way your core donorbase has. 

Your hard work is sure to pay off, both in the short term and for years to come. 

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