Donor Acquisition

What is donor acquisition?

Donor acquisition is the process of bringing on new donors or potential donors to your organization via marketing and networking.

What are the best strategies for donor acquisition?

Acquiring donors doesn’t happen without some effort and planning on the part of the nonprofit. Here are some of the best strategies for donor acquisition.

Take full advantage of the Internet.

  • Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a particular website by making sure the website appears at the top of the list of results provided by a search engine. Nonprofits can drive traffic to their websites by using specific, high-ranking keywords in their content.
  • Digital Advertising – Advertising through Google and other search engines does cost money, but sometimes it takes money to make money, and the pay-off can be well worth it. Digital ads can attract people to your website, exposing your mission to a wider audience.
  • Social Media – Organizations can leverage their social media profiles to acquire donors by creating meaningful content that will connect with their audience. Content should always tout the organization’s mission and aim to create an emotional connection with the viewer.
  • Email – Email can be a very effective donor acquisition tool for nonprofits. The key is to send timely, relevant emails that share information potential donors want to know. Sending too many emails, especially of little importance to the recipient, could lead to being blocked or marked as spam.

Try direct mail.

Although many write off direct mail as an outdated strategy, for some (especially older donors), direct mail has a more personal touch than digital communication. Using exclusively online modes of communication could isolate an important segment of donors. Direct mail is sure to connect with donors of all ages.

Be transparent about how you use donations.

Any potential donor’s first question when considering giving to a new organization is, “Where exactly is my money going?” Being transparent about the ways your organization uses its donations is a great way to build rapport with potential donors.

Host creative events.

Hosting traditional fundraising events, like galas for example, is a great way to engage supporters. However, throwing a more unique event like a half marathon or a benefit concert may attract more interest. Additionally, requiring registration to your events will also give you the opportunity to add contacts to your email and direct mailing list.

How does donor acquisition relate to donor retention?

Donor acquisition and donor retention are very closely connected. It may seem like the best way to get donations is by acquiring more donors. While acquiring donors is a great way to expand your donor base and boost giving, retaining your existing donors is just as important and often costs less money than attracting new donors. The cost of acquiring new donors includes marketing and advertising expenses. Donor retention requires you to keep your donors engaged and satisfied, which definitely takes time and effort but not nearly as much money.

Bottom line

Acquisition is a crucial part of the donor lifecycle as it is the process of bringing in new donors to the organization and making contacts that can potentially turn into donors down the road.

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