Donor acquisition is always on the minds of nonprofit professionals. Yes, it is important to consistently grow your donor base. But don’t just cast a wide net and play the numbers game, hoping someone out there will give! Your fundraising expenses can do more to advance your mission if find supporters who fit your ideal donor profile and identify with your mission.
For example, if your organization works to preserve historical sites, you need to appeal to donors who already care about the history of your area.
You will need to ask yourself what characteristics an ideal donor would have and find people who fit that description.
You will create more powerful communications and raise more money if you concentrate on acquiring donors who already identify with your mission and fit your ideal donor profile.
Then, your message can focus on why your nonprofit is the best way for them to further your shared goals.
A Better Understanding of Your Work
You need a more complete understanding of why your organization exists and what makes your work so important before you can determine who will be excited to support you. Being in touch with your mission can help you find the best way to talk to donors and show them you’re on the same page.
But we’re talking about going deeper than your mission statement. These can often go years without a refresh and can be wordy and unclear. Your mission statement may not resonate with donors as well as you think it does.
When we work with nonprofits on their communication strategy, we ask them a seemingly simple question:
“What is your nonprofit’s mission, without using any of the words in your mission statement?”
This forces you to take a deeper look and come up with a new, less formal way to talk about your work and goals. It helps you clearly explain why your work is so important in a more digestible way.
And it’s important that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Nonprofits evolve over time. So, if you haven’t revisited your mission statement in a while, you may find it no longer represents what your organization is all about.
You can’t build a like-minded audience that identifies with your mission if there is any uncertainty about what your are trying to achieve!
Building Donor Profiles
Determining which potential donors are a good fit for your organization is different for every nonprofit. No two donors are the same. This is also true of nonprofits!
In general, it’s important to think about your audience’s behaviors and characteristics to determine what your most important donors have in common. Look at your data and analyze these traits to build an ideal donor profile.
For example, do your major donors work in similar industries or live in a specific area? What age group do the bulk of your donors belong to?
A complete donor profile is more than demographic info, like education level, family size, and past giving. You should also consider behavioral and psychographic information like opinions, interests, and lifestyle to get a better idea of who your ideal donors are.
Look into other causes they support, or what their hobbies and interests are. For example, if your organization preserves open space, people who enjoy hiking and camping might fit your donor profile.
Asking yourself these questions and finding the answers in your data will help you build donor profiles that can tell you how likely someone is to donate before you even reach out.
Don’t waste time, money, and effort trying to convince someone why the cause you support is important. Someone who fits your donor profile and is likely to give will already understand that! This allows you to focus your message on why your organization is the best way for them to support a cause that matters to them.
When You Find a Match
Your work is not done when you find a donor that fits your ideal donor profile. In fact, you’re just getting started!
Remember, the organization itself is not that important to the donor. They are only really interested in solving a problem that is important to them. Your nonprofit is just the mechanism they use to make that impact.
When you are acquiring new donors, don’t bore them with the details of all your initiatives. Instead, demonstrate the impact these programs have on your over-arching goal. Showing potential donors that you care about the same things they do, have a plan to address that issue, and have a way they can help is what is most important.
Thorough donor profiles complete with psychographic information make it easy to speak to what motivates your donors and prospects. Show them the impact their gift will have towards achieving their own goals.
By this time, you know if a donor is a good fit for your organization. Now it’s your turn to prove to them why your nonprofit is a good fit for them!
Finding Ideal Donors
You don’t want to just reach out to everyone and then focus on the donors who do give. Casting a wide net might get you some one-off impulse donations. But this can do your nonprofit more harm that good!
You will spend time trying to secure a second gift from a donor that has no intention to give again. The money you spend on fundraising can do more to further your goals if you focus on donors who fit your ideal donor profile!
These are the people who can provide real value to your organization over time. Make sure every dollar you spend is advancing your mission.