Don’t Forget The Basics Of Donor Acquisition

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When you’ve been in this business 40 years, you see a lot of things that work and a lot of things that don’t.

When we sit down to talk to our fundraising clients who are trying to build their donor base through direct mailings, we have a number of tips for them. Here are a few:

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Forget the fancy stuff

If donor acquisition is your aim, keep your mailing simple. Flashy, slick, obviously expensive brochures and marketing pieces repel rather than attract. Why? People who support nonprofit organizations interpret these displays as unnecessary expenses — money spent on glitter and flash that would have been better spent on the nonprofit’s mission. This is a time when a simple letter, without even a color or embossed letterhead, is very effective.

Make your call to action clear

Donor acquisition is not a time to be vague. We tell our nonprofits to be clear, crystal clear, about what they want the potential donor to do. Let supporters know that your organization needs their financial support and explain clearly and concretely how their money will be used to further its mission. Provide suggested giving levels and offer several ways to make the gift.

You can’t thank them enough

After you’ve acquired a new donor and their gift, keep in touch with them. Send a nice thank-you note or letter. Provide them with updates of your projects through stories in your organization’s newsletter or magazine. Don’t just ask them for money once or twice a year. Communicate with them regularly. Donor acquisition is an expense, so don’t waste your organization’s money by failing to maintain the relationship. Set up a schedule of regular mailings to these and other donors that includes requests for contributions.

For more information about how to boost your donor list through a donor acquisition campaign, see our resource, 5 Tips For Effective Donor Acquisition.

by:

Julie Thomas

Business Development


June 9, 2014

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