3 Ideas For Your Next Donor Expansion Campaign

KindfulMarch 19, 2018

3 Ideas For Your Next Donor Expansion Campaign header image

Running an effective donor expansion campaign is tough work.

As a nonprofit, you’re competing – either directly or indirectly – against a multitude of other organizations. Competing sounds harsh, but as you try to vie for a donor’s attention, other nonprofits are doing the same. More broadly, you’re also competing against every other organization that’s trying to advertise in general.

In the world of donor acquisition, the attention of your audience is the most precious resource. So how do make sure the investment you’re making in your fundraising campaigns yields returns?

You have to think like a digital marketer, which means making sure you campaign is compelling, easy-to-understand, and, most of all, personalized.

Here are 2 marketing ideas for creating an effective donor expansion campaign.

1. Create user-generated content to make your message more compelling

According to recent research, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague.

Why? Because consumers see reviews as more authentic than marketing. In the mind of a consumer, a review is an unbiased opinion about a product or service written by someone who just wants to help others make a more informed choice.

Reviews are a form of user-generated content (UGC), or content developed by people with first-hand experience, as opposed to content created by a marketing team. Since UGC is so persuasive, it’s extremely relevant for fundraising.

The Invisible Dogs campaign by Best Friends Animal Society is a perfect example of how to utilize user-generated content. The goal of the campaign was to help the dogs in city shelters find new homes through adoption.

The Invisible Dogs campaign had 3 phases:

  1. Create awareness on social media using a branded hashtag.
  2. Encourage people to adopt dogs at their local shelters, or donate to help shelter dogs find new homes.
  3. Get people to post their adoption stories, photos, or videos of their new dog on the Best Friends Animal Society site.

The last part was the most important. By giving a platform to share experiences, Best Friends allowed people to not only support with a donation, but to make themselves part of the story.

Using the content generated by users added a powerful and personal touch to the Invisible Dogs campaign, eventually attracting the attention of thousands of donors.

2. Engage your community with location-based advertising

Since fundraisers are thinking like marketers, here’s another important concept to understand: the most effective marketing is personalized.

An easy way to personalize your donor acquisition efforts is to create a paid social campaign on Facebook and use the geo targeting feature to serve ads directly to specific areas. You can use this affordable approach to show prospective donors your relevance, especially if you’re hosting or going to events that are near them.

By delivering ads personalized to where someone lives, you’re significantly raising your chances to grab the attention of those localized audiences.

Even if your organization has a national footprint, you should still use this strategy to deliver a more personalized campaign. Just use your donor management software to gather some reports about where the majority of your donors live, then target ads in those markets.

3. Partner with noteworthy influencers

Partnering with notable celebrities may not be a novel idea for nonprofits, but adding influencer marketing to your campaign can make a tremendous difference.

The science behind influencer marketing is rather simple: people trust and listen to other people they find reputable. With the proliferation of social media, there are now more influencers than ever across nearly every kind of industry.

To find your influencers, compile a list of thought leaders in your industry, or public figures who you think will support your cause.

Be sure to check each influencer’s Facebook and Instagram following. Adweek found that these are the two most successful platforms for influencer marketing. For this strategy to work, you’ll need to work with people who have a large network.

Once you have your list of candidates finalized, email or direct message them and ask them if they’d like to help further your mission.

If they say yes, the next steps are simple. Decide on a message for them to post on their social accounts, and make sure they include a link to a landing page on your website that has a donation form or donate button.

It’s always a good idea to enlist as many influencers as possible, but it’s important to know which sources are driving the best results. In one experiment, Hubspot found that out of 23 influencers enlisted to share a piece of content, one influencer drove 77% of all the traffic.

Choose your candidates wisely. Partnering with 1 industry leader will usually be better than partnering with 10 mid-market influencers.

To track how much traffic – and support –  each influencer is driving, create custom URLs for each post with Google’s URL creator.


When you’re running a donor acquisition campaign, you have to ensure that you stand out. A boring campaign is the same as an irrelevant campaign.

If you’re not standing out from the thousands of other messages your audience is being exposed to, you won’t have much luck bringing new donors to your organization.

Use the 3 techniques outlined above, and you’ll be well on your way to running a campaign that’s attention-worthy and prove positive of your investment.

Schedule a live demo with our team, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Communication