Donor Acquisition – Nonprofit Catalog

As a nonprofit, you need donors to further your mission and help the communities that you serve. Along with stewarding your existing donors, your organization needs to continuously work to find new donors to support your cause.

Prioritize securing new donors throughout the year, not only during specific fundraising campaigns. Ongoing donor acquisition should be a key part of your marketing strategy, allowing you to continue to grow your support base as you foster existing relationships.

What is donor acquisition?

Donor acquisition is the process of acquiring new donors for your organization using marketing. Through direct mail, social media, and other outreach strategies, your nonprofit can connect with potential donors and earn their support. 

Expanding your existing donor base increases your organization’s capacity to support its mission. Additionally, donor acquisition is essential to ensuring that your nonprofit is able to sustain itself when donors lapse. A lapsed donor is someone who previously donated to your organization but hasn’t for a set period of time. 

Balance donor acquisition efforts with donor retention strategies, continuing to keep existing donors engaged even as you focus on acquiring new donors. Include recurring donors in your marketing strategy, and find unique ways to connect with them throughout the year. 

Donor acquisition strategies

You can use a variety of different strategies to secure new donors to support your cause. The best donor acquisition plans involve using multiple strategies, all of which should be targeted to your organization’s specific audience. We’ll discuss three options here.

A multichannel marketing approach can improve donor acquisition rates.

Multi-channel marketing

A multi-channel nonprofit marketing approach allows you to connect with multiple audiences that have different communication preferences by communicating with donors across several platforms. It also gives you a variety of touchpoints with supporters who engage with you across channels. 

Market your nonprofit across a variety of communication channels, such as: 

  • Direct mail. Sending physical mail to supporters’ addresses often feels more personal to donors than email. 
  • Email. Comprehensive email marketing includes regular newsletters, campaign updates, fundraising appeals, and invitations to events and volunteering opportunities.
  • Social media. Use social media to highlight successful examples of your nonprofit’s work, share volunteer stories, and interact directly with supporters. 

Direct mail donor acquisition

Direct mail remains an impactful way to reach donors, especially when combined with digital marketing techniques. Physical mail can offer a personalized touch to your donor communications and gives supporters a tangible representation of your nonprofit. 

When using direct mail as a donor acquisition tool, include information about your nonprofit’s mission and explain how their support would directly further your organization’s goals. Direct mail outreach to potential donors might also encourage them to interact with your organization in another way, such as by visiting your website or following your social media accounts. 

Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants are a powerful tool for nonprofits. Under the Google Ad Grant program, nonprofits are eligible for $10,000 in Google Adwords spending each month. This allows nonprofits to feature their marketing content at the top of the search engine results page, more easily reaching potential donors who search for terms related to their work. 

Growing your supporter base through donor acquisition efforts is essential to ensuring your nonprofit is able to sustainably further your mission. 

Additional Resources