3 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Flip the Switch on Donor Acquisition by Gretchen Barry, Director of Marketing Nonprofit Easy

NonProfitEZ-GB-Headshot-21Donor acquisition and retention are vital components for the success of a nonprofit organization. Although both aspects of the donor relationship are needed, nonprofits tend to place more emphasis on acquisition. Why?

The answer is pretty straightforward.  Nonprofit organizations need to raise money to succeed, and successful donor acquisition is the bridge between wanting to serve a cause and having the means to do so.

These three steps will help you expand your portfolio of donors and maintain financial stability moving forward.


A person donating to a nonprofit wants to see a direct line between his contribution and the valuable application of his funds towards the organization’s specific cause. Essentially, people not only want to help, but they really want to know how they are helping. By clearly outlining the trail from donation to implementation, your donor can feel more secure in his decisions to allocate funds.

There are many ways to make the donation process as transparent as possible. Below are a few examples that promote your organization in a general sense while reassuring those who are donating.

This transparency not only eases the mind of current donors, but it also can generate donations from new sources. Communication with donors should be like show and tell. Show the donors where their funds are going in a clear fashion, and tell the donors where their funds have gone by citing specific evidence.


Donors are not technically clients, but they should be treated as such. No matter how great your cause or your organization is, if a donor does not have a positive experience with your staff she will likely not come back or recommend you to her friends. Every donation prospect could be a valuable asset for your organization and should be treated as such. The better your relationship with an individual, the more likely the prospect is to donate and continue with your cause in a fiscally beneficial way.

Beyond interpersonal interactions between those who donate and your staff, your online presence is another opportunity to demonstrate your excellent customer service skills. People like to give online. It is efficient and quickly becoming the donation outlet of choice. Think of your organization’s online presence as an additional staffer that is there to help interested donors in any way possible. You can utilize your organization’s online presence to share links, videos, pictures, and additional educational information that help foster giving.


People love giveaways. Donors want to feel appreciated, and gifts are an excellent way to say thanks. Whether the gift is a tote bag or t-shirt from your organization, a gift is a great gesture that helps with brand recognition. Most importantly though, rewards can generate new donations.

There are numerous ways to go about setting up a gift program. One popular method of giving is establishing levels based on previous philanthropic giving. For each level, or donation price point, your organization can guarantee a specific gift. This method provides an incentive for donating or hopefully donating more than one initially planned to. especially for donor acquisition. Another gifting option would be to use a raffle. For instance, your organization could advertise that everyone who donates has their name put into a raffle to win a specific prize. Raffles are a great way to bring out a donor’s competitive spirit for a good cause. After all, who does not like winning?

Keep these three strategies in mind as you move forward with donor acquisition. Donor acquisition is a personalized process that varies by organization. However, entering the field with a solid understanding of the best practices within the community will help your nonprofit get ahead of the competition.

Gretchen Barry, Director of Marketing — Gretchen has been a leader in corporate communications and marketing for 20+ years. Gretchen has published numerous articles related to charitable giving and is a passionate advocate for public schools.  Gretchen has donated her time to numerous causes including Relay for Life, Girls on the Run, Rebuilding Together, and just recently became involved with the local land trust.  Gretchen graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in English literature.

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