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11 proven tips for acquiring donors and boosting revenue

December 29, 2021
A smiling nonprofit professional sits in a board meeting and shakes hand with a supporter after acquiring donors.

Attracting new donors is key to growing your nonprofit organization’s pool of supporters and expanding your programs. These 11 techniques can help your nonprofit attract donors and develop long-term relationships with them. Let’s dive into how to attract new donors to your organization.

1. Go mobile.

On average, over 60% of web traffic is from mobile users. Prioritize making your website accessible and easy to use for supporters using their smartphones or tablets. Remember to make sure images and buttons are sized properly for users to view and click them and that large file sizes don’t slow down page load speeds. Most importantly, ensure that these users can conveniently contribute to your organization from their mobile devices with a mobile-friendly donation page. 

Consider implementing responsive design, which makes your website fit and function on any device size. Because this design can adapt to any screen size, it works for any generation of smartphones, tablets, or desktops.

2. Launch branded campaigns.

Your brand is your nonprofit’s signature. It’s how your supporters relate to and remember your purpose, meaning it contributes directly to your donor acquisition initiatives. Your organization’s name often forms the first impression new donors have of your nonprofit. However, organizations operating in the same field often have similar names.

To set your nonprofit apart from others, create a strong, cohesive visual brand that stands out by pairing your nonprofit’s name with a memorable logo, specific brand colors, and custom images. Feature the branded elements you want supporters to recognize and remember (like your name and logo) prominently on your website, outreach emails, direct mail, social media, and any other communication channels you use to reach new donors.

3. Use captivating photos.

Don’t underestimate the power of an image to help tell your campaign’s story. Photos can communicate the important work you do without a single word, transcending language barriers. Not only do they show what the prospective donor’s contribution can accomplish, but they also provide visual interest. With the right photos, you can capture prospective donors’ attention and keep them reading your brochures, newsletters, social media posts, and other messages.

To get create captivating photo content, use a high-quality camera or hire a photographer to document fundraising events and your programs in action. Generally, the most impactful photos will feature your beneficiaries attending your nonprofit’s programs and interacting with your staff, but you need their permission before photographing them. Standardize your photo policy by creating a release form that your photo subjects must sign before you share photos of them on your website, social media, and other platforms. This ensures that you maintain trust with your beneficiaries and protect their privacy.

4. Be transparent with prospective donors.

People want to know how their gifts will make an impact and how your organization spends its funds. Strive to go beyond required legal transparency by demonstrating ethical transparency for new donors in these ways:

  • Use storytelling to provide examples of how gifts are used.
  • Regularly update information about your programs, staff members, tax forms, and executive compensation figures on your website.
  • Create internal policies and procedures to keep staff accountable and streamline financial practices.

You don’t need to bombard each new donor with all of this information at once. However, incorporating pieces of your story into marketing materials or making your annual returns accessible through your website can help reassure hesitant new donors.

5. Draw attention to giving opportunities.

Your website and online fundraising campaigns should aim to not only teach supporters about your cause but lead them towards taking a desired action, like donating.

Make these actions impossible to miss. They shouldn’t be intrusive or demanding, but ensure they’re clear and obvious. Include simple and direct calls to action (CTAs) in your marketing materials that encourage donors to learn more and give. Format these CTAs as clickable banners that link to your donation page to drive curious prospects to make a gift.

6. Use a secure fundraising method.

Gaining your donors’ trust in your nonprofit is critical to converting them as donors. The platform you use to collect online donations should be fortified and secure so donors feel safe giving to your organization. To reduce the risk of stolen credit card information, look for software that processes donations through secure payment processors that don’t store debit or credit card information. Platforms that are PCI-DSS certified are also a good choice for protecting your supporters’ financial privacy.

7. Use donation tiers.

Donation tiers with set values can help first-time donors gauge what the “appropriate” amount to donate is. You can also give your suggested giving amounts creative names that tie their donation to your nonprofit’s purpose. For instance, if you’re an animal shelter, you could offer tiers such as “Pawsitive Partner” or the “Four-Legged Founders Club”.

Keep in mind that some prospective donors will want to make a fully custom donation that isn’t represented by your tiers. For these supporters, include a way on your donation form for them to enter their own giving amount.

8. Simplify the donation process.

When it comes to online donation forms, keep in mind that less is more. Your form should request a minimal amount of information from the donor. The main pieces of information you need to gather are your donor’s first and last name, credit card information, and email address. While other data like their address or occupation can be useful for things like your marketing strategy, you’ll have other opportunities to acquire that information, especially if you properly steward the new donor relationship. 

9. Provide a recurring donation option.

On average, three out of four new supporters will leave without making another donation. Adding a convenient recurring gift option to your donation form can help your nonprofit secure future donations from a new donor’s first engagement. To encourage this additional involvement, add a box to your donation form that supporters can check to make their donation a monthly, recurring gift.

10. Ask new donors to opt-in to email messages.

Once someone donates to your campaign, they should receive an email with their donation receipt and a personalized thank-you message. To encourage new donors to stay connected with your organization, you should also request that they opt-in to receive your email updates. Make it convenient for them to sign up by providing the necessary link to do so.

11. Always show appreciation.

Make sure each new donor feels valued and appreciated after they make a gift to your organization. You can show appreciation by thanking your donors with:

  1. A confirmation page that says “thank you” after a donation is made.
  2. An email receipt with a personalized “thank you” message and additional information.
  3. A gift or invitation to a donor appreciation event.

When you acknowledge support from new donors, you increase retention of new donors and help lead them to get involved in other ways, like volunteering.

The bottom line about acquiring donors

Attracting new donors is critical to expanding your organization’s offerings and reaching more beneficiaries. Your nonprofit will need to consistently work to develop and improve a strong new donor acquisition strategy. As you employ these strategies, keep a close eye on your donor retention strategy. Stewarding the relationships you have with current and new donors can help you build a dedicated, loyal base of supporters

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