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HomeBlogNot-for-ProfitsThe #1 Way To Find New Donors for Your Nonprofit

The #1 Way To Find New Donors for Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit conceptsThere are two ways to maintain a strong, reliable nonprofit donor base:

  1. Cultivate relationships with those who have donated or volunteered in the past
  2. Find new donors and expand your existing donor base

While many nonprofits focus exclusively on #1, the most successful organizations rely on past donors and a steady inflow of new donors.

But where are you supposed to find new donors for your organization, let alone get them to donate?

Luckily, finding new donors doesn’t have to be left to guesswork. Thanks to the science of predictive analytics, it’s possible to find new donors simply by looking at the donors you already have.

Create Donor Segments

Your donor base is made up of individuals, all of whom have different relationships with your organization.

Some may donate once a year, while others may make a one-time donation. Others may skip the financial contribution and donate their time as a volunteer instead and some will do both.

Before you can begin adding to your donor base, you must separate your current donors into segments, or clusters which will show you donors who have similarities.

A segment or cluster is simply a way to arrange donors with similar demographics and giving behavior into a single group so their similarities can be used in your messaging/appeal

Your segments could be broken up by these variables and many more….

  • Annual donation amount (major or minor donors)
  • Frequency of donations
  • Appeals to which they respond
  • Frequent volunteer
  • Infrequent volunteer
  • Zip code
  • Education level
  • Connection to your mission

Once you have a deeper understanding of your donors, you can better prepare to expand your donor base and find more donors who fit the most profitable segment/cluster.

Target Identical Non-Donor Segments

After breaking your donors into segments, it should become clear which groups are responsible for the majority of your nonprofit’s contributions. You should also be able to easily identify any surplus or deficit when it comes to volunteers and other areas your NPO may need help with.

Taking your current goals and current donor base into account, you can then create a data-based approach to finding new donors who are similar to your current donors.

For example, we worked with a non-profit with a local mission and it made sense to find new donors within specific zip codes affected by the mission. Because we had created segments of donors for them first based on internal donation data and external data we had appended, we could easily purchase a list of potential donors within the targeted zip codes who “looked like” the best segment of the existing donors and sent them an appeal. The response rate was about 5% (an excellent rate in acquisition campaigns) and yielded 10 times the cost of the campaign. We also noticed that the average donation of the ‘new’ donor was 20% higher than the average donation of the existing donors who responded to a parallel campaign. The more demographic similarities you apply to your campaign via a predictive model, the more likely you are to be successful in securing new donations.

Keep the Donors You Have

Keeping the donors you already have is just as powerful as finding new donors.

Whether they’ve donated in the past or have just recently learned of your organization, it’s crucial to have an engagement system in place to maintain the donor relationship.

Think of your donor relationship just as you would a personal relationship. It’s important to have a balanced sense of give and take. If all of your interactions with a donor include a request for money, they are likely to become disillusioned and are far less likely to donate.

Make a huge effort to make donors feel appreciated. The best way to do this is by thanking them for their donation and by specifying how their donation is being used to help your cause. Let them know throughout the year how their donation is making a difference in the lives of people your mission serves. Most of us like to feel that we have made a difference with our philanthropic efforts be it money or service.

It’s also a great idea to acknowledge their donation cycle and demonstrate your appreciation for the donations they’ve made, instead of simply asking for more money.

Food for Thought: Pizza Dough

Recently, I learned how to make homemade pizza dough and have not ordered a pizza or bought one at the grocery since!! I get satisfaction from making a meal from scratch or from raw ingredients – especially if I have the time, which is usually on weekends.

At first glance, making pizza dough from scratch seems like segmenting your donor base – isn’t it more time-consuming? Wouldn’t it just be easier to send everyone the exact same marketing campaign?

Actually, the answer is no! It takes less time to make the dough by hand and let it rise than it does to order a delivery pizza and wait for it to arrive. And the taste is far superior to delivery or frozen pizza.

It’s the same with finding new donors using segmentation. In reality it’s actually less work to expand your donor base with data. The upfront time you put in pays for itself tenfold because your data-driven results are virtually guaranteed.

To get the dreamiest dough possible, I use a Kitchen Aide stand mixer with a dough hook, and I always use fresh mozzarella. Steer clear of the shredded or sliced cheese and buy the ball of mozzarella instead – it will make your brains fall out!

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe (click here)

Are you ready to increase your nonprofit donor base using predictive modeling? Contact Massa & Company today to find out how to grow your donations with data. Visit or call (312) 463–1050 to set up your free consultation today.

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 40 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.

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